Tesco launches gin made from surplus table grapes

A British fruit supplier and craft spirits producer have come up with a way to recycle an estimated 166 million surplus table grapes – by turning them into premium gin.

Called HYKE, the gin goes on sale exclusively at 300 Tesco stores on Monday (March 18) and supports the supermarket chain’s commitment to cut food waste.

Each year, Kent fruit supplier Richard Hochfeld loses the equivalent of 1.4 million punnets of table grapes in the packing process. But in a combined effort to tackle food waste, the company has linked up with West Sussex distiller Foxhole Spirits and Tesco.

The retailer’s spirits buying manager Andrew Hargreaves said: We are always looking at innovative ways to tackle food waste and work closely with our suppliers to do just that.

“There couldn’t be a better time to launch HYKE. Gin is the drink of the moment, with demand for premium quality varieties rocketing by nearly 90% at Tesco in the last year. As a result of the boom we now stock about 80 different gins and we think that with its unique taste and exceptional quality, HYKE will go down well with the growing number of gin connoisseurs.”

Karen Cleave, technical director at Richard Hochfeld, commented: “For packing, the grapes are cut and trimmed to fit the punnets, leaving loose grapes and tiny bunches that can’t be sold as fresh. So these lovely fresh grapes – equivalent to the weight of about 3.5 blue whales – end up as compost, animal feed or in an anaerobic digester. Now we’re taking them on a delicious journey which respects the provenance of the grapes and supports our commitment, as one of Tesco’s biggest suppliers, to cut waste.”

HYKE gets its distinctive character from both the grape spirit and a blend of botanicals, inspired by the grapes’ origins in Africa and South America.

James Oag-Cooper, md and co-founder of Foxhole Spirits, added: “We knew there was something special that could and ‘should’ be done with this quality by-product, so we applied our expertise and craftsmanship to the challenge. The result is a totally unique product which tastes exceptionally delicious, is beautifully presented, sustainably conscious and yet still affordable. Its rich, sweet citrus characters, followed by velvet-textured spice and complex aromatics, combine to make HYKE gin versatile enough for a classic G&T, a refreshing spritz or a sophisticated martini.”

HYKE gin will be sold exclusively at Tesco in 50cl bottles with a strength of 40% ABV, retailing at £24.

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