Sustainability’s New Marketplace and A New Dinner Plate

The Lempert Report
August 10, 2016

Here's what's happening this week in Food News.

Sustainability’s New Marketplace

 A designer is turning the leftovers from making kombucha tea into a supple, leather-like fabric for vests, shoes, and more according to a new column in National Geographic that explores turning food waste into fashion.

Young-A Lee, an associate professor of apparel, merchandising and design at Iowa State University, has created clothes, shoes, and bags out of the waste from kombucha tea. 

According to Wikipedia, Kombucha is a variety of fermented, lightly effervescent sweetened black or green tea drinks that are commonly intended as functional beverages for their supposed health benefits. Kombucha is produced by fermenting tea using a "symbiotic 'colony' of bacteria and yeast,” which produces a gel-like film of cellulose fibers which according to Lee when dried, its texture and malleability is similar to leather. 

The downside is the material actually has a short life, and normal wear will hasten its decomposition, which is eco-friendly and can be used as food for plants and soil. 

Thanks to a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency P3-People, Prosperity and the Planet Program, Lee and her research team have been able to create a series of prototypes that include a vest, men’s and women’s dress shoes and a handbag.  

A New Dinner Plate Makes Eating Healthy Easy

As reported in Adweek, BBDO Bangkok partnered with the Thai Health Promotion Foundation to address Thailand's obesity problem. In a unique approach they focused on what the food is served on, instead of the ingredients being used. In Thailand, one of the main culprits in their obesity crisis is the amount of oils used in cooking and preparation. 

So they developed the created the AbsorbPlate, the idea is simple, and effective – there are 500 perforations in the plate that catch and hold some of the grease from the foods. It actually captures 7 mL of oil, which is about one and a half teaspoons - about 30 calories off the total. My question is how and where do you dispose of that excess oil? I guess that’s their next product.