Climate Candy FAVES is made from fruits and vegetables that would otherwise be wasted on farms and grocery stores.
The end of October was a sugar avalanche as kids don their Halloween costumes and snag as many sticky candies as they can. But the prospect of scooping up an entire trick-or-treat bag and eating it gets a little scary when you think about the effect.
Not only are most Halloween favorites not good for children’s health, many of the candy’s ingredients are obtained through processes that harm the planet. Cacao is often grown in rainforests that have been cleared for cultivation, for example. Unsustainable production of sugarcane can also produce large amounts of greenhouse gases.
Then there is all the candy that goes to waste in the aftermath.
But Amy Keller says she has a great solution. Keller is a member of the Spangler Candy family – the company behind popular candies like Dum Dum’s Lollipops. It’s putting a fresh spin on the family business by trying to tackle baby nutrition, global food waste and the climate crisis with Climate Candy.
FAVES Vegan Chewable Candies contain 96% fruits and vegetables including applesauce, various fruit purees, sweet potato powder, rice flour, and more. The company says that each package of FAVES contains four servings of fruits and vegetables that would otherwise be wasted on farms and grocery stores. They include carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, butternut squash and butternut squash—all nutritious foods—and come in flavors like cherry, orange, lemon, and strawberry.
“Food is fuel,” Keller, co-founder and CEO of PurePlus told CNN. “For me, building something like ClimateCandy is such an affordable and accessible thing. You can get on doorsteps, walk into a house, and get people talking about the climate in a very fun way.”
Nearly a third of food is wasted globally, according to the Drawdown Project, and food waste makes up nearly 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions. In the United States, ReFed—a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending food loss and waste across the country—estimates that nearly 90 billion meals of food go either unsold or uneaten each year.
This is terrible for the planet, because wasted food—whether from grocery shelves, leftovers in restaurants, or perishables forgotten in refrigerators—ends up in landfills, where it generates methane, an invisible, odorless gas with a powerful Heating more than 80 times in the near term of carbon dioxide.
Keller said that ClimateCandy offers a solution to the problem of food waste due to the ingredients her company chooses.
The best fruits and vegetables usually end up in grocery stories. They are the right size and shape for sale in stores and fit consumers’ ideas about what fruits and vegetables should look like.
There is a second category of produce that “ends up either unharvested, returned to the land, sent to livestock feed or landfills,” Keller, who worked in the environmental and health field, said. “And these are totally good fruits and vegetables.”
Climate Candy keeps a little bit of that from going to waste and turns it into something with a longer shelf life.
“There’s enough to go around,” Keller said of the wasted products. “And no food bank can keep up because it’s perishable.”
With Halloween around the corner, Keller said Climate Candy would be a valuable addition to her trick-or-treat bags — but she also envisions the treat as a healthy alternative to traditional candy year-round.
“Halloween is coming up and everyone is obsessed with what size snack it is, and this is your only day to be fun,” Keller said. “What we’re saying is, guess what, the other 364 days in the year? That could be what you can have from a sweet tooth perspective. And I think it’s just something that could be nostalgic for the next generation.”