LILO Manifesto - 2022

LILO is standing up to change our food systems. We see what’s happening around the world, and we firmly believe it's our responsibility, as a part of this connected global village, to improve our food system. Through positive action, impact, new ideas, and friendly collaboration, we reckon we can achieve this from Aotearoa New Zealand. LILO stands for last in last out. It’s our way of saying that as a generation, it’s our responsibility to make things better for the generation to come.

We spent a number of years working out where New Zealand could have the greatest impact. As a country, our food is known around the world for its high quality and pure source. Plus, we grow some of the world’s best fruit. This fruit is globally sought after for its superior flavour - whether it’s our famous kiwifruit, cherries, or crisp apples, we’re proud of our perfect-looking produce. Because of the soil, climate, air, and thin ozone layer, New Zealand fruit contains some of the world’s highest levels of antioxidants, polyphenols and anthocyanins. So, that plump and delicious Central Otago cherry you crave, or that golden Zespri kiwifruit, tastes better because it is naturally superior.

The more we looked into our fruit system, the more we discovered an outdated focus on perfection for export. No splits, no faults, no blemishes, it said. Only perfect fruit could leave New Zealand shores; and a huge percentage (over 10% of certain varieties) of fruit that stayed went to waste. We found this scary. If it’s all supernatural stuff, even if a little ugly, why are we allowing tonnes of it to rot?

In Aotearoa, 9% of our methane emissions come from food and organic waste. We celebrate an industry that exports tonnes of perfect produce every year, but almost 10% will never make it off the orchard. One in ten might not seem like a lot in a bag of apples, but think of it like this: in the 2021 season, Central Otago lost 2000 tonnes of premium cherries. That’s more than 133 heavy dump trucks filled to the brim, and that’s just from Central Otago. For some fruit, a good or bad season can mean losses of 30-60%. This may sound like a tedious maths exercise, but losses like these affect the growers and the industry. It’s their livelihood at risk. Many of our growers are humble family folk, where their business bottom line affects their children, their family, and the local community. This is the same for the world over - from mango growers in the Philippines, to pineapple growers in Madagascar, all the way to dragon fruit farmers in Southern China.

We aren’t here to point the finger. We know from working with our orchard partners that they are the last people who want to see fruit left on the ground. As demand for perfect produce increases, so do freak weather events and externalities caused by a changing climate. It’s getting harder to produce perfect fruit, and harder to manage the full value chain from source to customer.

Once we heard this, it crystallised our why. If LILO could channel its generational focus to do more with fruit waste, it could turn it into a supercharged, supernatural portfolio of snacking for global delight. It would mean that we are living out our purpose, directing good energy across local ecosystems and global villages.

In 2018, LILO started in a cherry orchard, as we listened to the pain of growers trying to export. Learning from their experience, we began to focus on research, development, and innovation, testing delicious recipes with our growers that could positively impact them. Our priorities began with a better state of mind (less stress), business bottom lines (more margin and revenue) and ultimately, caring for our planet (less waste and resource strain). With science and technology (FruitTech - zing!), and in partnership, we firmly believe we can unlock the potential of imperfect fruit.

We’re supercharging what makes New Zealand fruit so good and turning it into delicious snacks.

We invite you to open your minds, as well as your tastebuds, to an indulgent array of snacking possibilities. Food is medicine, eat with your third eye: we invite you to look past what you take for granted. See the supernatural in our supercharged fruit. Experience the mind-altering nourishment that comes from nature’s gift.

This is our manifesto, our purpose - and we invite you to join our generation’s movement.

Last in, last out x