From Imperfect Foods to Misfits Market, there has been an increasing amount of concern in the food industry for dealing with food waste. With reason of course! Over 50% of food in America goes to waste each day, and considering that our land is only decreasing and our worldwide population is increasing - we need solutions and we need them now! Remix Snacks hops on that subscription anti-food-waste train. Only this time, it’s all about taking imperfect fruits and turning them into healthy and nutritious snacks. As a good ol’ Hannah Montana fan, I can’t miss the opportunity to say that Remix Snacks finds the best of both worlds! While I haven’t personally purchased from them, I’m honestly just about to drool while writing this review. They are guided by such a core focus on the intersection of health and the environment and you can tell just from looking at how they produce their snacks. My main point of criticism is to provide consumers with more specifics about how their products are created and where their ingredients are sourced from. I would love to see them grow in their environmental advocacy as much as they are hitting more and more shelves across the country!
Their snacks are made from upcycled fruits that have been rejected at the distribution food chain because of their cosmetics. Like a square-ish-looking apple or an oddly pigmented peach would basically be tossed out despite being perfectly edible! What a society we live in... As a result of the aesthetic standards we have, over 40% of wasted produce in Canada is due to imperfections. Their main facility is in Montreal so unfortunately, there isn’t any information on where these upcycled fruits are purchased from. Don’t get me wrong, their website is very informative - one of the most informative I have seen throughout my reviews - but I would have loved to see more on locations. If we were to be shipping imperfect fruits from the opposite side of the world, would the carbon emissions from traveling be less than discarding the fruits? It’s easy to compare one company to another in one stage of its lifecycle but the value of any company comes from its overall ability to decrease its environmental footprint.
On the bright side, I was able to find more information about where they source their 73% Belgian dark chocolate. Their cacao is grown in Tennessee by VanLeer and I knew right away when I saw the name of their source that I had to take a closer look at them. To be honest, I was skeptical going onto their website. I was most afraid of finding something that wouldn’t sit well with me. And to some extent, it was true. Van Leer had doubled down on its sustainability commitment in November 2020 by committing to Cocoa Horizons Foundations sustainability platforms. They aim to be deforestation-free and carbon-free by 2025 and eliminate child labor from their supply chain. On the bright side, all their farmers have signed onto the Child Labor Charter and a declaration that their cocoa wouldn’t be sourced from protected forests. But how can we guarantee that the farmers will hold true to their promises? As well, there wasn’t as much significant progress in its environmental department which is surprising considering that 2025 is soon and they have a major goal ahead of them. I think Van Leer and Cocoa Horizons Foundations is heading in the right direction but I haven’t found anything substantive yet that has shown me their commitment to sustainability.
The next ingredient is beans! This might come as a shock to you because most chocolates normally contain nuts and not beans. I mean you would have to be nuts - I mean beans - to substitute such a traditional ingredient. But Remix Snacks are daredevils in this area and I want to show them some love in this department. They choose to use beans instead of nuts because beans have a water footprint that is about a fifth of their counterparts. Furthermore, they are sourced within the country which only lessens the transportation distance compared to nuts which most likely would be coming from the States.
Their packaging is made from 100% recyclable materials and is promoted as being sustainable. But I’m curious as to how recyclable it is - if I toss it in my blue bin on Thursdays, will the waste department accept it as recycling? Or do I have to drive to a special facility to dispose of it? I wish I had more to say here - to show you the positives and the negatives - but there isn’t much more information provided on their website about packaging and its materials. I know I wasn’t a big fan of chemistry in high school (anyone else?) but this is a time that I would have appreciated seeing some long chemical name.
As I mentioned earlier, their chocolates are manufactured in Montreal, Canada inside a facility. I couldn’t find more information beyond this about the kind of technology they use, about their employers, about the technology they use at the facility. But once I went on their Instagram, I was able to find a lot more content on their production. They manually measure and mix the ingredients of the bean bark and spreading the mix on the tray to cool. Then, they break it up into chunks and fill the bags with it, sealing it tight with their machine. Food production as a whole is a pretty intensive process - around 16% of the total energy consumed in food processing goes towards it. Regardless of how it’s assembled, most facilities run on coal and natural gas power plants which only contribute to the carbon dioxide emissions. I love how much information Remix has provided their audience but I would love to see more details on their carbon emissions and energy usage. Is their production and backroom as committed to sustainability as the products they put out? I do want to address that carbon emissions from a facility may not be as reflective of their brand as we may think. They are a smaller business that is just starting up and are manually assembling all their products. Would they be able to operate for fewer hours, and thus emit less, if they had the resources to invest in better technology? If they have high numbers, I think this should only give investors all the more reasons to invest in their company. Judging from their stories, there are very few people in the kitchen and I’m assuming that most of them are part of their 6-10 core size team. However, I don’t have any more details beyond that and for now, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt that their work conditions are ethical. Overall, I would love to get to know their process better than a quick Instagram reel or story.
The founders met at McGill University and that’s where the idea of Remix Snacks was conceived. From the start, they were determined to create a healthy product for consumers and the environment and their company is pretty reflective of their commitment. And they make that clear on almost every page of their website. They write informative blog posts about lessening our plastic usage and have saved 900 pounds of imperfect foods since starting. While they have a movement tab on their website, I was disappointed to learn that it was a movement for Mindful Eating instead of sustainability. I totally understand where they are coming from - they are dieticians after all - but I thought it was interesting that they didn’t consider how eating mindfully also meant being mindful of where the ingredients are sourced from. Instead, the movement focused on reconnecting with our senses. Perhaps, they can consider a movement that runs parallel to this one that focuses on the environmental aspect of their brand. I think they are paving such a unique path in the food industry and I would love to see them give both the nutrition and environmental aspects of their brand the attention they deserve.