Toni Desrosiers is an entrepreneur who invented Abeego, the world’s original breathable food wrap (made of beeswax), in 2008. The drive to disrupt the billion dollar food industry came when she realized that every peel in nature protects and breathes. This was at a time when airtight and transparent plastic food wrap was (and in many cases continues to be) the norm in kitchens.
We chatted with Toni about her inspiration to re-invent food wrap, Abeego’s zero-waste compliance, and steps you can take to reduce your plastic consumption.
WEHL: Tell us a little about yourself and why you became interested in natural wellness.
TD: At 25 years old it became obvious that there was nothing nourishing about my lifestyle. I was full of calories, booze, and negativity. So I did what anyone would do, I sold everything, moved into a campervan, and headed to Mexico.
For a year I ate natural food, seasonally grown, bought at the market virtually package free, made it fresh in my van and served on a new beach every week. I noticed that the experiences surrounding food were the moments when I felt truly nourished. This experience was pivotal in my life, one that set me on the mission to Keep Food Alive.
WEHL: What’s your philosophy on wellness?
TD: Eat food that looks like it did when it was living, growing and breathing. Chew slowly. Abide by an 80/20 rule. Find a peaceful place and go there every day. My peaceful place is in my garden. I grow fresh food all year round and sitting in the middle of a pea patch snacking on snap peas is where I feel the most at peace.
WEHL: What inspired you to start a mission to reinvent food wrap?
TD: 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.
WEHL: What is Abeego made out of and how do you make it?
TD: Abeego is made with our formula of beeswax, tree resin, organic jojoba oil infused into a hemp and organic cotton cloth. I invented our wax machine and process to make the wraps with our team in Victoria, BC.
WEHL: How many times can you re-use each sheet?
TD: Well, you’ll lose count of how many uses. Typically you’d replace your Abeego after a year.
WEHL: What do you do after the sheet is used up?
TD: Once Abeego is at the end of its natural life, it can be composted or cut up into strips for twist ties in the garden.
WEHL: Why is beeswax wrap a healthier option for people to use than plastic wrap on their food?
TD: Abeego keeps your food alive, storing food as nature would. Every skin, peel, and rind found in nature is opaque and breathable. Plastic wrap is airtight and transparent. If nature isn’t keeping food alive in something airtight and transparent, then why are we? Not only will your food stay fresh, it will taste fresh. Your body will benefit from the full nutrient value and because you’re keeping your food alive and not throwing it away you’re wasting less food and money.
WEHL: Does it help the fruits and veggies to last longer? If so, how?
TD: Absolutely! Abeego is breathable all while protecting your food from air, light, and moisture. Your fruits and vegetables naturally emit gases, and they need a breathable environment to do so. Have you seen ‘cheese sweat’ in a container or airtight wrap? This is the gases in your cheese becoming condensation, which will ultimately result in mold.
WEHL: Does Abeego hold on to strong smells like a half cut onion?
TD: Typically no. It will keep the smells inside your wrap and not in your fridge. Win-win!
WEHL: What shouldn’t you do with Abeego?
TD: For keeping your Abeego wrap in the best shape, we recommend a cold water wash in the sink with biodegradable soap if needed. If your wrap hasn’t been soiled, for example only covering a bowl of greens, then a quick wipe is all you need. Our beeswax formula is naturally antibacterial.
Avoid direct heat like a stove or the dash of your car and we also recommend avoiding direct contact with raw meat.
WEHL: You’ve mentioned that your goal is to become a zero-waste enterprise. What does that mean?
TD: We’ve been a zero waste company from the beginning. We truly value the resources and materials we use to make our wraps and want to make sure everything is used to its fullest extent. We use the discarded edges of our Abeego wraps and turn them into our Twists. The Abeego Twist is perfect as a fire starter for camping or a wood stove. They are water-resistant and burn slow without any harmful chemicals.
WEHL: What tips do you have for people who are trying to reduce their plastic consumption?
TD: Do one thing that works for you and do it daily. When that feels easy pick another one. Reducing plastic consumption in small daily bites makes a big difference. Here’s a fun way to cut back on waste: learn to make one of your favorite packaged foods from scratch! I’ve recently started making fresh almond milk. It’s incredibly easy, tastes a million times better, costs a fraction of the price and is naturally zero waste.
WEHL: Do you have any advice for an entrepreneur who’s interested in building an environmentally conscious business?
TD: Start! Don’t avoid doing something because you can’t do everything. Use all the tools at your disposal.
Do you have your own tips on how you reduce your own plastic waste? Let us know in the comments below!
*Product shots – Photographer: Kelly Brown
Headshot of Toni – Photographer: Fiona Mathieson
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