Welcome to my first Q & A blog post! I see many more interviews on this blog in the future, and I couldn’t be happier to kick things off with a company I love and respect: Abeego.
If you know them, you’ll know that Abeego is the original beeswax food storage wrap, based out of Victoria, BC. They’ve gone toe-to-toe with the food wrap giants, and it’s all thanks to Toni Desrosiers, Abeego’s fearless founder.
My history with Abeego goes way back to 2011. They were three years into production and I was a wee intern at alive magazine, where I wrote about them in alive‘s holiday gift guide. I’ve used the products myself ever since, and they’ve grown by leaps and bounds. (Is this all because of alive‘s 2011 gift guide? Should I receive all the credit? Things to consider. 😉 )
Without further ado, here’s what Toni had to say about the journey, what inspires her, and what’s next for Abeego.
“Plastic wrap has dominated our kitchens for the last 50 years and in my personal opinion was prime for a shake up.”
For those who have never heard of reusable food wraps, why would they want to use Abeego rather than plastic wrap?
Plastic wrap is airtight and transparent. When you look to nature, every skin, peel, and rind is breathable and opaque. If nature wraps our fresh living food in a breathable lemon peel, why are we “locking and sealing” our food in plastic wrap? It doesn’t make sense! Inspired by nature, I set out on a mission to end food waste, creating the world’s first breathable food wrap. The result: fresh food for longer than ever imagined.
Abeego’s motto is “Keep Food Alive”. Can you explain that?
Our mission is to Keep Food Alive, and this can mean something different to everyone. We simply hold space for those hungry to find Keep Food Alive for themselves. In North America over 40% of food brought into your home is wasted, and much of that is fresh produce as a result of food storage tools that have failed you in the kitchen. We’re on a mission to put food back into people’s hands and end food waste. In the last 50 years we’ve lost our deep-rooted connection to our fresh living food. By using Abeego in your kitchen, we’re helping reignite our relationship with food.
For me, Keep Food Alive is about every moment you’re connected to food in a lively, present or conscious manner. It’s a holistic approach to eating that encompasses positive shared experiences around food that nourish our spirit. It’s about the stories that reconnect us to each other and our natural world.
How do you feel having disrupted the plastic wrap industry?
I feel fantastic about it! Plastic wrap has dominated our kitchens for the last 50 years and in my personal opinion was prime for a shake up. When I first started Abeego it was an act of defiance and an irritation with how plastic wrap worked with my food. It’s airtight and transparent, and those qualities are not reflected in nature, especially when it comes to wrapping food. I knew my invention was going to change the world so it’s incredible to watch it lead the way as a global trend and movement. Beeswax food wrap is popping up across the globe! I’m proud of this accomplishment and how we’ve blazed an entirely new trail in an industry that was ripe for disruption.
How does Abeego fit into the Zero Waste movement?
In itself, Abeego is zero waste. All of our materials come from the Earth and will return to it without a trace. Our wraps are 100% biodegradable and can be composted at the end of their life. By using Abeego in your kitchen, not only will you reduce your plastic waste, but you’ll also save food from the compost.
What inspires you?
National Geographic Explorer Elizabeth Lindsay says, “When an elder dies a library is burned and libraries throughout the world are ablaze.” Sit with this for a minute.
This loss of wisdom was obvious to me when I invented Abeego. I searched everywhere to find clues about how we stored our food before plastic wrap and was only able to find answers in museums, historical stories and from the mouths of my elders.
The true vision behind Abeego is to Keep Food Alive and hold space for those hungry to rekindle food wisdom inherent to humankind. For thousands of years we learned about our food through shared knowledge passed from one generation to another, from one mother to another, from one farmer to another. In the last 100 years we’ve allowed this innate food wisdom to be removed from our hands. We read labels, measure calories and buy into food that is packaged with the promise of health. Meanwhile real food and the stories that have informed us for generations are being lost with every elder that passes on. We want to capture these stories to preserve and expand what it means to Keep Food Alive.
What’s in store for Abeego next? Any big plans or goals for the future?
We’re excited to be launching our Abeego Firestarters! Once a coveted gift with purchase, we’re now offering them online as we had so many customers reach out asking if they can buy a summer’s supply of firestarters for camping and their cottages.
As far as other big plans, Abeego is shifting into the lifestyle brand for the living breathing kitchen, home to a community of Wholehearted pioneers. One day I hope to reinvent the big plastic box in our kitchen, the fridge.
Thank you so much to Toni for being so inspiring, and for taking the time to answer my questions.
Photos courtesy of Abeego.