Sous Vide Tools is Europe’s leading supplier of kitchen equipment, working with chefs such as Tommy Banks, Mark Birchall and Tom Aikens.
The company has created a durable vacuum bag, which will be composted after use, to reduce food and plastic waste. The company is the first to offer a compostable vacuum bag for the home: the ‘Sustainapouch’. These bags are mostly made up of rice, potatoes, and corn, which means they typically shrink to granular levels within 26 weeks. Rather than using endless cling film, these little pouches are sealed with household vacuum sealer and can hold food for several days longer without any deterioration in quality. They also protect food from freezer burn and dehydration.
General manager Alex shannon discusses sustainable innovation with Durability.
Hi Alex! Can you tell us about your background and what brought you to Sous Vide Tools?
“After having cut my teeth as a key account manager selling products to distributors of catering equipment, I developed a relationship with an Italian manufacturer, after having successfully stocked its panini grills with a large chain. They had a commercial vacuum machine that they wanted to market in the UK and were looking for a partner. At the time, I was working for a refrigeration company, so after asking a few of my old contacts in the restaurant industry if they were interested in this and being told it didn’t had no legs, I decided I could either let it go or give it the opportunity to try it myself.
“Sous Vide Tools was born. We still sell the same product that originally started the company and are proud to have been the first to market many of our appliances.
What waste challenges is the kitchen equipment industry facing?
“I would say challenges similar to those we all face in business, maintaining the responsibility to be more waste conscious, not only as a business, but with the products we offer to balance our responsibilities while being able to function in a way is commercially viable. With our products, we’ve had to think about how everything will work in the real world, from the packaging we choose to being able to offer repairs on the products rather than having to replace them if they develop a problem. .
“Our main challenge as a business has been that our products require products to be placed in plastic for storage or cooking, using plastic bags when vacuum packaging or vacuum cooking,” resulting in reduced food waste but leaving single-use plastic behind. We have invested a lot of time and money to see how we can change that.
Tell us about the Sustainapouch
“Sustainapouch is our plastic-free alternative to a vacuum bag, it is made from a material that is fully home compostable. It brings all the benefits of vacuum packaging to the kitchen, but in a way that eliminates single-use plastic.
How does the product affect the food?
“Vacuum packaging of food brings many benefits such as extended shelf life, portion control, no freezer burn to name a few, and our Sustainpouch product is capable of doing all of that. while being compostable. “
What do the chefs you have worked with say about the Sustainapouch?
“The chefs were very positive about the product! In professional kitchens, they use a significant amount of vacuum packaging, which previously resulted in excess plastic waste, in order to have a product that eliminates what has generated real interest from the chef community.
Do you have similar products in the pipeline?
“Now that we have Sustainapouch for our business and home customers, we hope that we can also add some advice on home composting and maybe even create our own compost bins to accommodate the bags. “
What does the next 12 months have in store for you?
“I hope we can encourage many of our customers to switch from traditional vacuum bags to the Sustainapouch brand and we will do a lot of work around that. We are always busy researching the next product and hopefully working closely with the chefs will give us some insight into what will be the next big thing in home cooking, so we can further develop the product line. in the Sous Vide tool portfolio.