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Juniper Ventures signs up to Ample Marketplace

11 Jul 2024
Juniper Ventures, which supplies over 23,000 meals daily to students in the London Borough of Newham, has become a keen buyer on the Ample Marketplace.

Incorporated in April 2018 from the council’s catering and cleaning service, Juniper aims to operate with the social aspects of the local authority but with the business acumen and autonomy of the limited company that it is.

Michael Hales, chief executive of Juniper Ventures and vice-chair-elect of LACA, said: “It is shocking that in the UK we waste 13m tonnes of food every year. As a hospitality business we are determined to do all we are able to help reduce this figure.

“We already encourage schools to recycle food waste and have been carrying out food waste reductions assemblies in our schools to educate pupils the importance of reducing food waste. As part of our Corporate Responsibility pledges we wish to see reductions in our carbon footprint over the next 12 months and utilising the systems available to LACA members that we piloted with the University of Edinburgh, we measure our CO2 emissions for the 23,000 meals we provide.

“Reducing food miles is an important part of this and working with Ample and our long-term fruit and vegetable supplier Prescott Thomas, we have been able to secure produce from on our doorstep in the Lea Valley. We have started with salad items from local farmers whose produce did not meet the exacting standards for supermarket chains and would ultimately have been left to rot and put to waste.

“This produce is perfect for our needs as we are not interested how straight a cucumber may be as they are sliced for our salad bars. We have also taken mini cucumbers too which have added some variety to our salad bars as well as being discovered as an excellent product to pickle by some of our catering teams.

“We will be looking closely as the range of salad produce increases in the coming weeks to see how we can accommodate other produce onto our menus over the coming seasons to ensure continued support for farmers and help fight food waste.

“We will also be indicating dishes using this produce on our menus to highlight the partnership we now have in place with Ample. This partnership not only supports Juniper’s values but also supports British farmers who sadly through no fault of their own find themselves with produce which whilst still of high quality, they are unable to sell. We are able to ensure by taking that produce that both they, Juniper schoolchildren and the environment each benefit.”