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Claudio Owusu (Güsto)

Claudio Owusu won a Shell LiveWIRE Smarter Future Award in July 2019 for his business, Güsto.
Making the most of the resources that we have at our disposal is key to creating a sustainable future. This is what Güsto founder, Claudio Owusu, strongly believes in and is part of the reason why he founded the ethical dried snacks company with business partner, Nicole Mensah.
 
The sustainable agency WRAP estimates that the total amount of food waste produced in the UK each year is over 10 million tonnes and fruit accounts for a large quantity of that.1 In fact,  2016 Unilever research showed that the UK grows over 619,000 tonnes of orchard fruit each year, of which an estimated 84,500 tonnes (13 percent) are wasted.2 This figure may be even larger because farm level waste is often unquantified due to produce being dropped and ploughed back into the fields.
 
Güsto works with communities, farmers and fruit suppliers to salvage these surplus fruit that would otherwise be wasted, transforming them into healthy air dried fruit crisps to fight food waste in a delicious way. Reshaping a traditional market, the start-up manufactures high fibre, low calorie crisps in new, inventive flavours such as peanut and coconut, whilst preserving the goodness of the fruit that goes into them.
 
Güsto is one of  the innovative brands in the European air dried fruit market using wholly sustainable ingredients for their products while preventing edible food from going to landfill sites. By working with multiple farmers, Güsto is saving an estimated 60+ tonnes of produce from going to waste each year and avoiding approximately 252 tonnes of CO2 being emitted into the environment. The business model also means the production costs are low, as the raw materials are purchased at a reduced cost since farmers and fruit suppliers can’t sell them. All this sets up Güsto to continue to progress and become a highly profitable and sustainable business.
 
Claudio was inspired to found the company in October 2018 after attending a summer fruit-picking session and observing the huge levels of waste involved. Although there are a number of drinks brands in this area, Claudio spotted a gap in the snack market and pitched the idea at St Mary’s University in a competition facilitated by Santander Bank. Following its success here, the company then went on to enter and eventually win the Shell LiveWIRE Smarter Future Awards.
 
Claudio commented, “Winning the Shell LiveWIRE award will help us improve our distribution and increase our storage capacity from receiving 60 kg to over 200 kg of surplus fruit, so we can build a stronger network of farmers across the UK and participate at a national level.” 
 
When asked to give advice for other entrepreneurs and innovators in the sustainable space he said, “We can all have the idea but one of the main challenges is execution. In order for the business to succeed you cannot do it by yourself. It is also important for young social entrepreneurs to understand that consumers will expect your venture to be fully eco-friendly as the big company’s. However, such credential could be challenging to live up to because resources and funding can limit the company’s social impact,” says Claudio. For example, until now, the start-up wasn’t able to use biodegradable packaging as it was too expensive. However, this is something Güsto plans to address in the near future as it looks to become the first company in the air dried fruit crisps market to implement plastic free compostable packaging made with plant based materials.
 
You can follow Güsto on Twitter and Facebook.

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