News Article

Meet the Finalists - Manny's Market Morwell

   Sunday 8th November, 2020

Food waste is a 20 billion dollar a year problem in Australia, and everyone doing a little bit adds up to a lot.

A fresh produce retailer and wholesaler based in the Latrobe Valley, has introduced an innovative solution to the region with a dehydrator system that converts food waste to a nutrient rich fertilizer.

Manny’s Market Morwell is a finalist in the Excellence in Sustainability category in the 2020 Excellence in Agribusiness Awards, a category sponsored by Bass Coast Shire Council.

Manny’s Market at Morwell has an Enrich360 dehydrator system in the basement of their store, with a cool room close by that can store large numbers of the special recycled plastic boxes that the food waste is securely stored in, while waiting its turn to go into the machine.

Owner John Askew has been developing this circular model process over the last few years, as a value add service to his wholesale customers that in turn, creates a new product line for him to retail in his own store, as well as wholesale to others.

The machine, developed in South Africa, arrived in late 2019 and since then John has connected with his regular restaurant, hospitality, food service and care facilities customer base in Gippsland, picking up their food waste every time he drops off their fresh produce orders.

Using the Enrich360 process, the food waste is then converted to a nutrient rich fertiliser which he then sells - currently in his own store and in local markets around Gippsland.

Power for the enrich360 machine is derived from solar panels on the roof of the Morwell fresh food market store and

John is currently operating at small levels of approximately 30kg per cycle with a max of three cycles per day.

Each cycle takes around 6 hours to complete, and other than large hard bones, the machine can process all manner of food waste, and as soon as a cycle is finished and the machine emptied, it’s ready to take on the next load.

John is looking for further outlets and plans to install a bigger plant with capacity for 100kg of food waste per cycle.

This, however, has been delayed due to Covid.

Whilst in Gippsland, this is a small project at an early stage, it is a great exemplar towards creating a circular model.

John has put a lot of effort and thinking in designing this process and building the relationships to make it happen. And there is potential for this to be replicated by other fresh food markets and supermarkets as an environmentally friendly and sustainable way to deal with food wastage.

Before the impact of covid-19, one local café indicated that it was making a huge difference to their food waste volume, reducing it by up to 7o% - meaning less disposal costs for that business, and less greenhouse gas generating waste going into landfill.

Once a box of food waste is emptied into the machine, it’s as simple as pressing a button and leaving it to do its magic via a fully automatic process of dehydration, sterilization, and volume reduction.

The food waste does all the work, with no need for water, sawdust, or any other additives.

The nutrient rich fertiliser is now available to purchase at Manny’s Market Morwell.