Soilmates’ journey started right here in the Netherlands. 62% of the EU’s avocados come through Rotterdam’s port, where they’re sorted and sent off to be ripened and sold in supermarkets. But that’s not every avo’s story: there are mountains of them that don’t make the cut. Over a million every day, in fact, are rejected for not meeting the industry’s standards of beauty. These ‘industrial’ avocados – the uglys, we call them – end up as compost, are burnt for biofuel or simply discarded.
Soilmates see beyond the ‘ugly’ label. It’s the inside that’s filled with power nutrients, after all. By pressing industrial avocados into cooking oil, we can ensure that the uglys are not only upcycled into a food product, but one that’s healthy (avos only) and widely accessible (hello, Albert Heijn), too.
STRIVING FOR SUSTAINABILITY
Soilmates’ journey to start-up success naturally came with its share of bumps in the road. One of the biggest sticking points was the lack of local facilities for oil production. When Healthy Oil first hit Albert Heijn shelves in June 2021, our nearest oil press was an olive oil factory based in the north of Spain – 1,500kms away. Transporting avocados from Rotterdam to Spain only to bring them back to the Netherlands was, at the time, the only way of saving them from the bin. No more wasted avos? Great. Creating a bigger carbon footprint along the way? Not so much. We knew this wasn’t good enough. Not sustainable enough. We started looking for a solution.
SEEDS ARE PLANTED, A NEW PARTNERSHIP GROWS
May 2022 marks the opening of Soil Oil, a plant-based oil production facility, in Ridderkerk – just 15kms from the Rotterdam port. It’s the first of its kind in northern Europe. It also happens to be across the road from all the major local avocado importers, sorters and suppliers. Soilmates has a new sister in town, and she’s a powerhouse. The answer we’ve been looking for. Uglys that we rescue in the Netherlands can now be pressed in the Netherlands. Bottled in the Netherlands. And hugged with that Healthy Oil label right here in the Netherlands. Local waste, a local start-up, a local solution. Making that journey from soil to oil to you so much shorter.
Soilmates realise there’s always more work to do on the way to becoming fully sustainable. We’re learning, changing, and growing as we go. Got a question about our process? Our product? Our values? Get in touch. Follow our journey on social, and keep putting pressure on us to do better, be better. We love it.