Interview with Toni Desrosiers: creator of Abeego, the woman who put beeswax food wrap on the market in 2008

One of the things that I love with this blog is that it allows me to share my stories but also to share empowering stories like this one of Toni Desrosiers. Happy creator or Abeego, she helps people keeping food alive with her beeswax food wrap! I never used it any beeswax food wrap before and I think it was out of ignorance. I didn’t know how it worked and was lazy to find out about it. But now it has changed, as my lifestyle is slowly changing too, and I wanted to know more about these when I found out about this amazing woman Toni Desrosiers. I’m so happy to present it to you today, have a good read!

How did you come up with Abeego? What empowered you to create it?

Inventing Abeego started as an act of defiance. The drive to disrupt the billion dollar plastic food wrap industry, and revolutionize food wrap, came when I realized the food wrap I was using looked nothing like the peel nature wrapped my fresh food in. Every peel nature created protects and breathes, yet airtight plastic food wrap was the norm in our kitchens. I decided to invent the food wrap of the future and worked to keep it as convenient as pulling out a box of plastic wrap. Through tremendous experimentation and a trust of nature, I developed the world’s first breathable, reusable, beeswax food wrap.

 

Who helped you along the way?

Many people helped me bring Abeego into the world. Today I’m fortunate to have an amazing team that brings my vision to life but in the early years of Abeego my husband Colin and I did it all. Colin has been and remains my biggest champion and essentially keeps me alive so I can Keep Food Alive!

 

What is the funniest fact you’ve learned along the way?

I’m always blown away that plastic wrap has been able to gain such as market share since you’d be hard pressed to find a person who LOVES the plastic experience. Getting plastic out of the box, cut from the roll on that nasty blade and around/over whatever you need to wrap is the single most irritating experience ever!

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Credit: Kelly Brown Photography

 

What is the most shocking fact you’ve learned along the way?

The most shocking thing I’ve learned is the amount of food waste generated worldwide. In North America at the household level alone, 23 million tons of produce goes to waste annually – enough to have fed 112 million people for a year. This is a result of flawed food storage. Since the 1950’s when plastic wrap was invented, we’ve all been told that you need to “lock, seal and trap” food’s freshness in an airtight plastic wrap or container.

Abeego is superior over plastic wrap because instead of creating an airtight wrap that can’t support living food I invented breathable food wrap that looks and acts like nature’s rind, skin or peel. Abeego is breathable so you keep food fresh and most importantly ALIVE!

Discovering that breathable food wrap is superior to airtight food wrap has led to my obsession with ending food waste. Food waste is so prevalent in society today and it’s accepted as normal, so much so that we’ve created a system to deal with it called composting. But it’s unnecessary. Most of the food you toss could have been served up at the dinner table if it was cared for properly. You see, we don’t have a food waste problem, we have a food storage problem that is causing a bigger waste issue than you can ever see in your compost bucket. Every half of wasted avocado is so much more than that. When we toss a half avocado we’re tossing every resource that went into producing it. Planting, pollinating, picking, packing resulting in billions of wasted dollars and hours buried under the compost pile and this is no longer acceptable.

 

How do you see Abeego grow?

Growing concern over plastic waste, food waste paired with explosion of demand for sustainable products has lead to a total explosion for Abeego!

Abeego has grown to a team of 19 people, we are distributed around the world and we are hell bent on changing the way the world keeps food alive. We will be in a million households by the end of the year.

 

What world Abeego, you and the team, would like to create?

In a nutshell, our vision is to Keep Food Alive and our mission is to end food waste for a food secure world. We want to put food back into people’s hands, reignite food wisdom, and reconnect with the natural world.

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Credit: Kelly Brown Photography

 

What would you recommend to someone trying beeswax food wrap for the first time?

Get ready to become a food-saving hero! Abeego is your tool for change to help you save food for longer and out of the compost so you can savour it to the very last bite.

If you’ve tried beeswax wrap and this hasn’t been your experience we invite you to try Abeego as not all beeswax wraps are created equal. We’ve been doing this a long time and have refined our formula and process and can confidently say that Abeego works. Always wash with COLD water and biodegradable soap to protect the integrity and extend the life of Abeego wraps. Change your mindset from keeping food fresh to keeping food alive!

 

How do you think Abeego helped you evolve as a person?

Building Abeego has changed me in every way imaginable. I started this company 11 years ago at 29. I was insecure, fearful and felt small. Growing Abeego into the company it’s become has given me posture. Not physical posture (I still slouch), rather emotional posture. I’m confident, brave, hungry to learn and trust my instinct more than I have at any other point in my life.

 

In your lifestyle, are you also a zero waster and/or a minimalist?

Living in a van and travelling around Mexico at the age of 25 for a year made me appreciate how little I needed. I have a natural aesthetic for simple design and environments, minimizing excess in every way.

I’ve grown Abeego as a zero-waste company from the beginning. I want to ensure the valuable resources and materials are used to their fullest extent. We turn the trimmings from our wraps into Firestarters, perfect for camp fires, barbecues and wood stoves. They are water-resistant and burn slow without any harmful chemicals.

What other habits have you changed in your kitchen since starting Abeego?

I’m a gardener and a while I eat out of my garden every day I’ve come to learn that Abeego still plays a huge role for me. I recently absolutely had to harvest a ton of radishes before they got too old. We had dinners planned for each night so the radishes got rinsed and stored in Abeego until the day we ate them all! Good news is that they will likely last a few weeks in Abeego so we don’t need to eat them all on one day.

I love yoga as it helped me reconnect myself to nature and I was wondering if you had a channel through your reconnection to nature has been made over the last years?

My garden does that for me. Getting my hands in the dirt or sitting in the middle of a pea patch snacking on snap peas is where I feel the most at peace. Most of my thinking is done while gardening so I choose to stay silent. I don’t listen to music or podcasts and give my mind free time to roam working through whatever problem is on my mind.

 

 

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Credit: Kelly Brown Photography

 

I love what you said at the PowHER talk (check it out here)that you’ve made: ‘Keep food alive is about nourishing yourself and connecting to food in a lively conscious and present manner. It is a holistic way at looking at food that allows us to understand that this is the experience about food that truly nourishes our spirit.’ The ‘slogan’ of my blog is: ‘Holistic journey for a more meaningful life’ and I think we are quite connected on this indeed. Like the 25 years old woman you were, I still am figuring out at 26 years old, who am I and what’s the meaning of what I’m doing in my life, and I was wondering if you had any advices or thoughts you’d like to share for my audience and me and also your old self about living a meaningful life. What are your thoughts about it few years after?

If you are passionate about something or inspired to change the world I suggest you do something especially when you can’t do everything because you never know where it will end up or how the path evolves over time. In my experience big changes happen bite by bite. Abeego started as a simple mission and has grown into a worldwide trend. It didn’t happen overnight, I’ve been building it for 11 years!

I’m a huge book lover and I was wondering if you had any good book to recommend the audience and me about food, self-development, entrepreneurship…Any book that inspires or has inspired you?

One of my favorite business books is Start With Why by Simon Sinek, I re-read it at least once a year.

Start-With-Why

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