A BEAUTIFUL BLOG ABOUT CHICP FROM NATURALLY PEACHY

Everyone loves Hummus and no one as much as ChicP founder Hannah McCollum who has turned her passion for hummus into a flourishing business founded on an amazing ethos. Hannah uses only surplus fruit and vegetables to create delicious, healthy and exciting hummus. The UN Food and Agricultural organisation estimate that one third – yes you read that right ONE THIRD of all food produced for human consumption is wasted each year! Much of this is ‘ugly’ fruit or veg that is apparently unfit for human consumption. This is something that we just can’t get our heads round – it all looks the same anyway once it has been juiced, chopped or mashed! Why won’t we  buy a carrot that is a little on a wonky side or a potato that  has a few nobbles, who are we kidding, perfection is over rated anyway, and the crazy thing is that there is nothing wrong with these vegetables apart from aesthetics!…and we thought we were entering the age of equality!

Everyone loves Hummus and no one as much as ChicP founder Hannah McCollum who has turned her passion for hummus into a flourishing business founded on an amazing ethos. Hannah uses only surplus fruit and vegetables to create delicious, healthy and exciting hummus.

The UN Food and Agricultural organisation estimate that one third – yes you read that right ONE THIRD of all food produced for human consumption is wasted each year! Much of this is ‘ugly’ fruit or veg that is apparently unfit for human consumption. This is something that we just can’t get our heads round – it all looks the same anyway once it has been juiced, chopped or mashed! Why won’t we  buy a carrot that is a little on a wonky side or a potato that  has a few nobbles, who are we kidding, perfection is over rated anyway, and the crazy thing is that there is nothing wrong with these vegetables apart from aesthetics!…and we thought we were entering the age of equality!

We applaud entrepreneurs such as Hannah who are doing something about this dire situation…and there is something we can all do to help, starting by supporting amazing brands like ChicP. We spoke to Hannah about how ChicP came about, what consumers can do to help reduce food being thrown away and why she likes to eat her hummus for breakfast, lunch and dinner…. You were previously a private chef, how did you first become interested in cooking and creating new recipes? I went to cookery school where I did lots of experimenting with food and recipes and after that I did a lot of jobs where I was put in the hands of clients and started creating recipes for them. Over time I started to use the left over vegetable dishes that were perfectly good, they were still fresh and delicious, and blend them to  make different dips and all sorts of other dishes from the surplus food. I would cook frittatas and quiches from the left overs and thats where I got the inspiration to create new recipes and be sustainable, to not waste food. What inspired you to create ChicP? I was going home after work every evening from my office job in central London and finding that when I went to the supermarket there was no healthy hummus or anything that had a sustainable touch. I was always going home and turning my leftovers into hummus each evening because that is the only kind of thing I wanted to eat – so I thought there was a gap in the market for something that was healthy using raw vegetables and sustainable. Where did you get the inspiration to use surplus vegetables for your hummus? I was doing a lot of events and could see the amounts of wastage, not just vegetables but steak, fish, cakes…anything you can think of! I then realised that there was a lot of press about vegetables that weren’t being used in supermarkets because of their shape or size and I wanted to do something about it.

We applaud entrepreneurs such as Hannah who are doing something about this dire situation…and there is something we can all do to help, starting by supporting amazing brands like ChicP.

We spoke to Hannah about how ChicP came about, what consumers can do to help reduce food being thrown away and why she likes to eat her hummus for breakfast, lunch and dinner….

You were previously a private chef, how did you first become interested in cooking and creating new recipes?

I went to cookery school where I did lots of experimenting with food and recipes and after that I did a lot of jobs where I was put in the hands of clients and started creating recipes for them. Over time I started to use the left over vegetable dishes that were perfectly good, they were still fresh and delicious, and blend them to  make different dips and all sorts of other dishes from the surplus food. I would cook frittatas and quiches from the left overs and thats where I got the inspiration to create new recipes and be sustainable, to not waste food.

What inspired you to create ChicP?

I was going home after work every evening from my office job in central London and finding that when I went to the supermarket there was no healthy hummus or anything that had a sustainable touch. I was always going home and turning my leftovers into hummus each evening because that is the only kind of thing I wanted to eat – so I thought there was a gap in the market for something that was healthy using raw vegetables and sustainable.

Where did you get the inspiration to use surplus vegetables for your hummus?

I was doing a lot of events and could see the amounts of wastage, not just vegetables but steak, fish, cakes…anything you can think of! I then realised that there was a lot of press about vegetables that weren’t being used in supermarkets because of their shape or size and I wanted to do something about it.

Why is there such a massive amount of surplus veg? It is difficult – a lot of it is to do with supermarket standards and what is seen to be fit. I have visited a lot of farms and been shown what is acceptable and goes through as a ‘class 1’ and that is because of their shape or their size –  the right colour carrots or cucumbers. They are graded a green or an orange and they have to be exactly what the supermarkets require. The ones that are not are taken down a different conveyor belt and are sorted and sent off to to markets and farmers are loosing out on a huge amount of money  that they should be getting for their vegetables whatever shape or size they are . They go to markets and are used for other things but still there is a lot of waste. What can we do as a consumer to help this situation? It is about being more open minded, and stop worrying that our carrots aren’t straight, trying to shop locally and support local farmers. It’s not just about vegetables but what you choose on the menu at restaurants too. It is trying to be sustainable, eating less Beef, trying to eat locally, trying to eat as many vegetables as you can. Maybe have meat twice a week rather than five times a week and just buy less and use what you have got in your cupboards. Also buying local vegetables that are in season rather than ones that have come from miles away.

Why is there such a massive amount of surplus veg?

It is difficult – a lot of it is to do with supermarket standards and what is seen to be fit. I have visited a lot of farms and been shown what is acceptable and goes through as a ‘class 1’ and that is because of their shape or their size –  the right colour carrots or cucumbers. They are graded a green or an orange and they have to be exactly what the supermarkets require. The ones that are not are taken down a different conveyor belt and are sorted and sent off to to markets and farmers are loosing out on a huge amount of money  that they should be getting for their vegetables whatever shape or size they are . They go to markets and are used for other things but still there is a lot of waste.

What can we do as a consumer to help this situation?

It is about being more open minded, and stop worrying that our carrots aren’t straight, trying to shop locally and support local farmers. It’s not just about vegetables but what you choose on the menu at restaurants too. It is trying to be sustainable, eating less Beef, trying to eat locally, trying to eat as many vegetables as you can. Maybe have meat twice a week rather than five times a week and just buy less and use what you have got in your cupboards. Also buying local vegetables that are in season rather than ones that have come from miles away.

What are big supermarkets doing? There are lots of initiatives. Sainsbury’s have got a 2020 plan and Tesco are doing what they can to reduce waste on every level throughout the supply chain . All supermarkets are doing a  better job than they were – there is just still a huge amount to do and it is difficult because it is hard to judge the buyers behaviour. It starts with the packaging and the ordering from the manufacturing level of all foods right down to the consumers plate.  It needs to be judged better and there need to be regulations to prevent food being thrown out at the end of the day because of what it says on the label, as it is usually absolutely fine.  Is it important for you to use locally sourced products and support British farmers? Very – it is what I am trying to do. At the moment I am getting all my vegetables from Spitalfields as I am not making the quantity, but the idea is to grow the business so that I can get all my vegetables from British carrot growers, parsley growers etc. With the bananas and avocados obviously it isn’t possible to buy local, but there are always going to be bruised bananas and avocados in England so that won’t be a problem. Have you always been environmentally minded? I was always the one at school who hated seeing things wasted, I was always turning lights off, saying ‘don’t use too much fairy liquid!’, recycle, recycle! It has always been something that is a big part of me really and that is the reason I wanted to start ChicP, to do something with food that is really sustainable – otherwise I would have never started a food company.   Tell us how you created the brand and developed the products? I started a business plan at work and spoke to so many people about it. I got my friends to trial it then I went to London markets with it, bought all the surplus and then trialled it on friends then came up with names. Finally when I had enough backing around me with people saying I should really do this – I did a big event in London -the first ever Fare Healthy. I was accepted by the organisers who said they really loved the product and they loved what I was doing, so I used that as my first opportunity and it was a great success! This led me on to carry on and develop the brand. I did further branding, loads of developing and getting my name out there. I would go to every event possible , every start up event, with samples to get feedback. Why hummus? It is a really easy product to make and so versatile, I love it, everyone loves it! You can have it with anything and it is an amazing product to eat with every single meal and something people can eat for breakfast and dessert! It can be changed if consumer trends change too. We make a sweet hummus too which is just getting people’s minds round the concept, because chicpeas don’t taste of anything you can really play around with the recipes. When should we eat hummus? It is full of protein so it is actually a really good start to the day. I would happily say, either a normal hummus or a savoury hummus with toast and avocado in the morning, is an extremely healthy breakfast as there is absolutely no sugar. Alternatively the sweet hummus has banana and avocado and  is a really yummy healthy chocolatey hummus as there is no refined sugar and it is full of energy. Otherwise for lunch, as a side, as a snack. I mix it in to pasta , have it in meat or in sandwiches. I use it in every meal!

What are big supermarkets doing?

There are lots of initiatives. Sainsbury’s have got a 2020 plan and Tesco are doing what they can to reduce waste on every level throughout the supply chain . All supermarkets are doing a  better job than they were – there is just still a huge amount to do and it is difficult because it is hard to judge the buyers behaviour. It starts with the packaging and the ordering from the manufacturing level of all foods right down to the consumers plate.  It needs to be judged better and there need to be regulations to prevent food being thrown out at the end of the day because of what it says on the label, as it is usually absolutely fine.

 Is it important for you to use locally sourced products and support British farmers?

Very – it is what I am trying to do. At the moment I am getting all my vegetables from Spitalfields as I am not making the quantity, but the idea is to grow the business so that I can get all my vegetables from British carrot growers, parsley growers etc. With the bananas and avocados obviously it isn’t possible to buy local, but there are always going to be bruised bananas and avocados in England so that won’t be a problem.

Have you always been environmentally minded?

I was always the one at school who hated seeing things wasted, I was always turning lights off, saying ‘don’t use too much fairy liquid!’, recycle, recycle! It has always been something that is a big part of me really and that is the reason I wanted to start ChicP, to do something with food that is really sustainable – otherwise I would have never started a food company.

 

Tell us how you created the brand and developed the products?

I started a business plan at work and spoke to so many people about it. I got my friends to trial it then I went to London markets with it, bought all the surplus and then trialled it on friends then came up with names. Finally when I had enough backing around me with people saying I should really do this – I did a big event in London -the first ever Fare Healthy. I was accepted by the organisers who said they really loved the product and they loved what I was doing, so I used that as my first opportunity and it was a great success! This led me on to carry on and develop the brand. I did further branding, loads of developing and getting my name out there. I would go to every event possible , every start up event, with samples to get feedback.

Why hummus?

It is a really easy product to make and so versatile, I love it, everyone loves it! You can have it with anything and it is an amazing product to eat with every single meal and something people can eat for breakfast and dessert! It can be changed if consumer trends change too. We make a sweet hummus too which is just getting people’s minds round the concept, because chicpeas don’t taste of anything you can really play around with the recipes.

When should we eat hummus?

It is full of protein so it is actually a really good start to the day. I would happily say, either a normal hummus or a savoury hummus with toast and avocado in the morning, is an extremely healthy breakfast as there is absolutely no sugar. Alternatively the sweet hummus has banana and avocado and  is a really yummy healthy chocolatey hummus as there is no refined sugar and it is full of energy. Otherwise for lunch, as a side, as a snack. I mix it in to pasta , have it in meat or in sandwiches. I use it in every meal!

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TO READ THE REST OF THIS BLOG, HEAD TO THE BLOG PAGE ON THE NATURALLY PEACHY WEBSITE BY CLICKING HERE