DOEN Participaties and Brave New Food Investments (BNFI) announce that they are together investing 450.000 Euros in The Ketchup Project, a sustainable initiative that combats tomato waste and empowers local Kenyan farmers. With this investment, The Ketchup Project can hire additional staff, and can invest in purchasing their own drying hubs.
Local drying hubs
More than 50% of fruit and vegetable harvests in Kenya are discarded due to volatile sales markets. To reduce waste and post-harvest losses, The Ketchup Project develops local hubs to dry tomatoes and mangos in order to extend the fruits’ shelf life by 1.5 years and thereby enables the utilization of entire harvests. The enterprise, run by 2 entrepreneurs, subsequently buys the dried fruit at a fair price and bottles it into delicious ketchup. Their main flavor has been developed with a Michelin-star chef and their entire product range contains only a few ingredients, all of which are organic, natural and free of refined sugars. Because of the fair price the farmers receive for their products, they have more money to invest in better living conditions.
Impact investors help to scale
BNF Investments celebrates the way in which The Ketchup Project partners with small-scale farmers to prevent and reduce food waste while providing stable, fair incomes. “With the capital provided, The Ketchup Project will be able to continue expanding their tomato and mango drying capacities in Kenya. It will also drive brand growth and commercial expansion, all of which we are excited to be a part of. We are confident in their abilities to truly make a difference,” Vincent van Gorkom, co-founder of Brave New Food Investments, expressed.
The DOEN Foundation has been supporting The Ketchup Project since 2019. Now its social investment company, DOEN Participaties, is also on board. Beau-Anne Chilla, investment manager of DOEN Participaties: “DOEN focuses on shorter and fairer chains to combat food waste. The Ketchup Project fits this ambition. They make the chain more sustainable in a concrete and visible way. In addition, they provide stabile and significantly higher income for the small-scale Kenyan farmers, which visibly improves their living conditions.”
“The partnership with Brave New Food Investments and DOEN Participaties comes at the right moment for us, as with their knowledge, expertise and network we will be able to scale quicker and make sustainable ketchup the new norm,” Anne Janssens, co-founder of The Ketchup Project, added.
Sustainable farming methods
The Ketchup Project not only combats food waste, but also focuses on sustainable production. The organization helps farmers - currently about 110 - learn about and implement sustainable farming methods. The drying of tomatoes and mangoes is done on the basis of solar energy and uses less energy than cooking tomatoes. To prevent soil depletion, The Ketchup Project educates farmers on regenerative farming methods
The Ketchup Project now has three flavors of ketchup, which were developed together with the Michelin star chef Mohsine Korich: tomato ketchup, mango ketchup and smokey ketchup. The ketchup is for sale at (online) stores such as Picnic, Bidfood and Instock Market, can be tasted at various catering establishments in the Netherlands and is part of the HelloFresh meal boxes. It is a sustainable, healthy and fair alternative to the common ketchups in the Netherlands, which are often produced in China in an environmentally and people-unfriendly manner.