Game Changers: Toni of Abeego Beeswax Wrap
We love that Abeego, the “reusable beeswax that breathes”, is on more than one mission. Founded in 2008 by Toni Desrosiers, Abeego was launched, firstly, because it’s logical. It breathes. If living food needed to be wrapped in airtight wrap the rind, peel or skin would be airtight. It’s not. Secondly, Toni was an advocate for sustainability. Not only is Abeego all-natural and uses minimal energy to produce, but it encourages us to store our food properly, preventing food waste. We chatted with Toni to learn more about Abeego and how it’s changing the game.
What is Abeego and why was it started?
Abeego is the world’s first breathable, reusable beeswax food wrap. It picks up where the peel leaves off, keeping your food fresher for longer than you ever imagined.
My journey began when I sold all my possessions, bought a camper van and moved to Mexico. For a year I ate natural, seasonally grown, fresh-from-the-market & virtually package-free food. I prepared it fresh in my van and served it on a new beach every week. I noticed that my experiences surrounding food were the moments when I felt truly nourished. This experience was pivotal in my life, one that set me on the mission to “Keep Food Alive”.
Sustainability plays a large role in your company in more ways than one, can you explain?
We exist to Keep Food Alive and have made it our mission to end food waste. In North America we throw away over 40% of all food produced, and we’re on a mission to change that, starting in our kitchens. The compost pile is only a fraction of the waste generated when you toss food. Under that pile of compost is 40% of resources, time, and transportation that it took to get that food to our kitchens. Food waste is much more than throwing away half an avocado.
From the beginning, Abeego has been a zero-waste production facility. Our Abeego Firestarters are made in small batches and are born out of a desire to use “the whole beast”; we give our materials their fullest life because we believe every resource matters. Made from the discarded edges of Abeego beeswax wraps means they are water resistant and long burning without any harmful chemicals. They’re perfect for taking on your camping trips and gathering around a fire with friends.
How did you get involved in this movement?
I was working as a nutritionist and noticed that we were all wrapping our fresh living food in airtight and transparent wrap. When you look to nature, you’ll find breathable and opaque skins, peels, and rinds. No one was questioning plastic wrap and other conventional storage methods, meaning the food storage industry was ripe for disruption.
Who has been the main clientele so far?
Our customers are real food lovers with a deep respect for fresh food. They are gardeners, chefs, bakers, foodies and those passionate about saving food, while reducing their waste at the same time.
We’ve been fortunate to work with retailers around the world who are passionate about our mission to Keep Food Alive—from local lifestyle and eco-friendly boutiques, to grocery and national chain retailers. We recently launched in all 265 Bulk Barn locations across Canada. Their refillable container program is an example of a national brand taking the first steps to help reduce waste.
How is Abeego changing the game?
Since 2008, we’ve been pioneering the global beeswax wrap movement and leading the conversation around sustainable food storage and what it means to Keep Food Alive. Before Abeego, it was the norm to wrap up your half avocado in plastic wrap, and it wasn’t seen as a food waste problem when it would need to be tossed the next day. Abeego is turning this expectation on its head by challenging what we think it means to “keep food fresh”.
Traditionally, humans have had an ever growing and deep relationship with their food. We taught generations how to grow it, keep it and eat it. National Geographic explorer, Elizabeth Lindsey says, “When an elder dies, a library burns and libraries are ablaze around the world.” In the last 50 years, we started the short road to loosing generations of food wisdom. How did we get to a point where it’s okay to toss a half avocado that’s gone bad in plastic wrap?
Over the last 10 years, I’ve become obsessed with the idea of putting real food back into my hands and strengthening my understanding and relationship with food. When we truly make the connection that food sustains us, we take care of the food that takes care of us. Our mission to Keep Food Alive supports those seeking to restore food wisdom for themselves.