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Sustainable food-scale up Yespers has secured financing for world’s first Total Value factory

DOEN Foundation, Social Innovation Fund, Apostolic Society, Rabo Foundation and Opportunities for West – European Union provide financial support.

[The Hague, December 14, 2023] – Breakfast products brand Yespers, a forerunner in the food sector in the field of social sustainability (good for people and the environment), receives financial support for its new factory that makes full use of the raw material Yespers uses for its products: the Total Value. DOEN Foundation, Het Sociaal Innovatiefonds (SIF), Apostolic Society (ApGen), Rabo Foundation and Kansen voor West – European Union are joining forces to make Yespers’ mission a reality on a large scale. The funders share Yespers’ vision and are committed to bringing positive change to the food industry and investing in an inclusive workplace. With the funding, Yespers will open the world’s first Total Value factory by mid-2024. In doing so, the company prevents food waste and, with the arrival of the factory, provides jobs for people with a distance to the labor market.

Image: Daddy & Mietek in production busy processing the whole apple.

Yespers’ goal with the Total Value factory is to add maximum value to the food chain. In the value factory, Yespers works to fully process the apple and nothing goes to waste. With this approach, they go for a fair price for the fruit growers, create additional employment for people who have difficulty finding jobs and avoid wasting valuable raw materials. At Yesper’s, they go for ‘Total Value'”.

“We are excited about our partnership with Yespers with whom we are working from the pilot phase in 2021. The total value approach aligns perfectly with our own objectives as Rabo Foundation. Creating more social impact through more sustainable chain collaboration is the future as far as we are concerned. We hope more parties will join this inclusive and sustainable food movement.”

Nanouk Grootendorst, Rabo Foundation program manager

Adding maximum value to the food chain

Adding value starts with procurement. Yespers buys apples from local fruit growers that do not meet the strict requirements of retail. At the Total Value factory, the apple is processed completely, from pith to stem. The use of the whole apple provides a wide range of end products, increasing the value of the apple. Yespers pays apple growers as much as three times more for their apples than most purchasers, thus betting on adding value to the chain.

At the factory, the stems, seeds, cores and fruit are separated before entering the processing process. The stems are dried and made into an apple tea blend and the seeds finely pressed into apple oil. Yespers makes the most impact with the cores and pulp. The cores go into the pressing process along with the fruit to be processed into apple juice. The pulp remaining after pressing is dried and ground into apple flour. This unique process allows every part of the apple to be valued.

“What makes Yespers unique is that they do not start from the final product, but start from the raw material, in this case the apple, using all parts of the apple. DOEN’s support of Yespers fits well with our commitment to a regenerative economy in which, by different design, no raw materials are lost.”

Maarten Derksen, Program Manager at DOEN Foundation

The separation and processing process requires additional effort in the plant. With the wide range of finished products, the Total Value plant creates room for more employment opportunities.

Image: Apples from The Buytenhof upon entry.

Inclusive workplace with the Yespers Academy

Part of the Total Value factory is the Yespers Academy. With the Academy, Yespers offers guidance and training to people distanced from the labor market. Employees are coached in all areas, from learning new skills, increasing self-confidence to obtaining certificates. With the experience gained and certificates obtained, they can move on to a job in the factory or are guided to enter the job market confidently.

With the Academy as part of the Total Value factory, Yespers offers a development and advancement program to a group of people who could use extra support in building their careers.

“We are proud to contribute to Yespers’ mission with the Social Innovation Fund. With the Total Value factory, Yespers realizes impact on many fronts and is committed to the necessary systemic change on a sustainable and circular level. By implementing social innovation on all facets, 24 inclusive jobs are being created and more than 50 workplaces for people distanced from the labor market. Wonderful to see how sustainable, circular and social entrepreneurship go hand in hand.”

Rob Peelen, SIF Program Manager

Upscale Total Value factory

Stefan Baecke, founder Yespers, believes in adding value to every ingredient and collaboration.

“The funding marks a crucial milestone in Yespers’ scale-up and in our commitment to sustainability and social impact “, stated Stefan Baecke. “We are very pleased to partner with this group of funders who understand and support our mission. We are convinced that a future-proof food system is first and foremost about people as well as the planet. “

Stefan Baecke, founder Yespers

With the funding obtained, Yespers can realize its vision on a large scale, the Total Value factory becoming the center for innovative and socially sustainable food production.