Interview: George Alexandrakis
The Fruitleather team is a composition of creative people who had the idea of taking advantage of nature in a positive way. They are using the fruits that are going to be thrown away to create highly designed projects.
This idea is considered to be a revolution in Design as it is friendly to nature, people and to the animals.
How did you come up with the idea of using natural resources for the creation of this special design bag?
The idea originated at the Binnenrotte square in Rotterdam where we saw how large amount of food waste would be left behind at the end of market days. When Further investigating this problem we came to find out that market vendors needed to pay 12 cents per kilo to dispose of their waste in a proper manner. This often led to the illegal dumping of the waste. We saw a lot of potential in the large amount of fruits being left behind which we started experimenting with. After a long experimental process, we came with Fruitleather. We focus on making the material and not specific products like bags just yet. We used a bag in this case as a visual to show our audience the potential of our new material.
Do you think that your project may contribute to the limitation of animals’ abuse for manufacturing purposes?
We definitely see the possibility. With the appearance of leather, it would be a good alternative. If we are able to increase production and turn it into a worldwide project, then it could possibly limit animal abuse for manfucturing purposes.
What is the creation process you follow in order to have a high-quality product that will not be altered throughout time?
The exact process is not something I can give away as it is our groups secret recipe. However I can give a summary of the process. The process involves us collecting the waste from market vendors. With them having to pay to dispose of it, they eagerly give it away as it saves them time and money. Once it is collected we take out any unwanted material and then mash the fruits. The next step involves taking out any bacteria before spreading the paste on a specific surface. This is crucia for the drying stage.
Because we are able to take out the bacteria, we prevent the material from rotting. We are still further developing the material and the process for an even higher quality result.
Does a good outcome require the use of any chemical substances in addition to the natural material, the way they are used for the manufacturing of beauty products?
Currently we are not using any chemicals in our process, making the material very eco-friendly and also bio-degradable. This is also something we would like to maintain as we focus on a 100% natural product.
How price is determined given that your raw material is not as costly as leather for instance? Is the reduction of prices by the use of cheaper material one of your project’s goals?
Currently I can not tell you too much about prices, as the material is not for sale yet. Further developing the material is our number one priority before making it available for purchase. We want to be able to give our future customers the best quality Fruitleather, so before bringing it out on the market we want to answer all the questions we still have about the material first. The future cost of the material will also depend on how efficient our production process is, as we are currently doing everything by hand which causes long working hours.
Is the market ready for such extraordinary projects? What is the feedback you get?
The feedback we have received has been nothing but positive with reactions from invidivual designers to big companies. Many people are amazed not only about the final product, but also with the whole story behind it. The project exploded in such a positive way that we are getting requests from all over the world.
Do you plan to expand your work by designing other products and useful objects in the future?
We definitely see the possibilities of further expanding our project. Food waste is everywhere so the concept can be applied to a lot of parts of the world. I have to say though, currently we are not just focusing on one product. There has been the misunderstanding that we are a group that makes bags out of our Fruitleather. This is not the case. We merely used a bag as a visual for our audience. What we purely focus on is becoming the best Fruitleather makers out there. This material can then be applied to a large range of products where leather is commonly used. From lamp covers, to car seats.
Do you have any hopes regarding human behaviour towards nature?
Hope is something you should always have. If there was no hope, then no one would even take the time to come up with ideas to stop the negative effect humans have on nature. So yes I definitely have hope.
Last but not least: how many vitamins are in each design bag?
Haha good question! I guess it would depend on the fruit being used, but definitely enough vitamins to get you through the day!
Thanking you a lot! We are proud of your work and your respect to nature!
Translation: Fotini Fotou