Los Angeles-based startup PurePlus launched its first consumer brand, Faves, in 2021 as a sustainable alternative to the popular candy brand Startburst. Today, each packet of chewy candy contains one serving of fruits and vegetables and the company works collaboratively with farmers to secure tons of viable produce from ending up in landfills.
According to PurePlus, every Faves packet upcycles six carrots, three beets, one sweet potato, half a squash and a quarter of a pumpkin that would have otherwise been considered surplus and gone to waste. Most of the time, the candies are made with ‘imperfect’ produce. Additionally, Faves are plant-based, low in sugar, non-GMO and gluten-free.
Co-founder and CEO Amy Keller is the granddaughter of Norman Spangler, a second-generation leader at Spangler Candy Co. A staple of American culture, Spangler manufactures Dum Dums lollipops, candy canes and other confectionery goods. Instead of following in her family’s footsteps in a conventional sense, Keller launched PurePlus in 2018.
So far, the company has launched two flavors of its fruit and veggie chews: strawberry and grape. Developed using its proprietary produce powder and sustainable palm oil, amongst other ingredients, they are marketed as healthy alternatives to standard sweet chews. Touting itself as “Climate Candy,” its boxes and packaging are 100 percent recyclable and carbon neutral shipping is available with all orders.
In addition to being a better-for-you candy, PurePlus aims to tackle food waste and disrupt conventional candy’s foothold on the snack market. According to the company’s website, “Faves is set out to be the first climate candy of a generation of people that are more aware than ever that what they put in their body matters and how it affects the planet too.”
Tackling global food waste is the number one priority for the company. According to a report by the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), around 930 million tonnes of food is wasted every year, with 61 percent coming from domestic households. Twenty-six percent of waste is attributed to foodservice, while retail claims the remaining 13 percent.
As such, PurePlus aims to save 2.2 million pieces of produce from entering landfills this year. To meet such ambitious goals, future product development is already being considered, with hard candies at the top of the priority list. This will be funded, in part, by the $1.56 million seed funding round led by Trousdale Ventures and PTK Capital that closed at the end of last year.
PurePlus is not the only brand making use of landfill-destined produce. From fruit rinds to upcycled pasta, multiple brands are looking to leverage food discards as new must-try snacks. Spudsy, for example, saves more than 150 million tonnes of sweet potatoes from entering landfills each year. Meanwhile, RIND sells a variety of snacks made from upcycled fruit rinds.
Currently, availability is limited to online retail sites like Amazon and the company’s direct-to-consumer (DTC) website, which ships to the continental US. However, future rollout with specialty natural grocers is anticipated soon and the Series A funding round is touted for the end of this year.