RESCUED: Whitney Shcoenfish, Dr Michael Sweedman, Michael Britten and Ian Herderson from Australian Vinegar have produced a variety of vinegar made from dumped strawberries.
RESCUED: Whitney Shcoenfish, Dr Michael Sweedman, Michael Britten and Ian Herderson from Australian Vinegar have produced a variety of vinegar made from dumped strawberries. Liana Walker

How this company rescued dumped strawberries with vinegar

WHAT happens when strawberries destined for landfill get into the hands of a business owner who hates waste?

You get Rescued Strawberry vinegar, the latest charitable venture from Australian Vinegar.

During the strawberry needle contamination scandal, owner Ian Henderson couldn't bear the thought off all the oversupplied strawberries going to waste, so he teamed up with Pinata Farms and turned the excess into vinegar.

But his efforts don't stop there. One hundred per cent of the profits from Rescued Strawberry are being donated to charity group Foodbank.

"Foodbank's job is to take food that is destined for landfill and turn it back into food for people - so the alignment is perfect,” Mr Henderson said.

"We think we can raise $6000 - $7000 for Foodbank.”

Reducing waste is a key part of what Australian Vinegar does. Mr Henderson has a dedicated research and development team which is working on new ways to re-purpose food.

"So we source food waste - being 100s of tonnes of strawberries which were headed for landfill,” Mr Henderson said.

"This is the first commercialisation of that knowledge into strawberries.

"There are much bigger and much more interesting things in the pipe-works.”

He said they were currently working with some of the large food manufactures in the world to reprocess waste from food manufacturing.

"We have a strategic partnership with the University of Queensland, and the Federal government gives us some grant money as well.

"Anything that's a sugar can be turned into an alcohol and anything that's an alcohol can be turned into a vinegar.”

Australian Vinegar produced around 600 bottles of the limited edition Rescued Strawberry vinegar.

Mr Henderson hopes when this vinegar sells out they'll be able to continue working with Foodbank.

"We've really enjoyed it, Foodbank are nice people and they do God's own work, they do what the rest of us can't do or don't want to do.

"We have to support them.”

"They make it very easy for businesses to donate, they'll take anything that's food and they will find a home for it.”

"We've worked with them on a couple of things - this is not a one off.”

He said working in a food growing region it was disappointing how much produce went to waste.

"You just go around and see the amount of tomatoes and strawberries just buried into the ground and falls off the end of the production line

"It's not just a waste of energy, it's a waste of food.

"There's plenty of food in the world, it's just not getting to the right places.

"This is us helping to get it to the right people at the right time.”

As for the Rescued Strawberry vinegar - there's only around 100 bottles left.

The vinegar will be available from Brinx Deli, 18 Maryland St, Stanthorpe, but be sure to get in fast so you don't miss out.

Stanthorpe Border Post


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