Inspiring clean-eating foodie Hannah McCollum has made it her mission to help minimise the problem of food waste, one delicious hummus dip at a time. With up to 40% of British crops being rejected because of their shape and size and approximately one third of the food produced in the UK never being eaten (more shocking statistics here), Hannah had the brilliant idea to turn some of this unwanted, surplus vegetables into fresh, colourful, healthy dips, bursting with flavour. The result is her own ethically conscious range of dips called ChicP, which has been making waves around some of London's best food markets and festivals (we fell in love with them at FareHealthy!). So we asked Hannah to tell us more about her range and the journey behind it.
- We love the concept behind ChicP of minimising waste by using surplus vegetable to make delicious dips – how and when did your idea begin to take form?
That’s great that you love the concept behind ChicP! I have always been aware of food waste; even at school I hated the idea of food being thrown away unnecessarily. After leaving school I attended a cookery course and from then on cooked for many families during the holidays or for dinner parties. I also worked for events companies catering for big parties and canapé parties, and worked for larger companies such as FMCG who cater for large sporting events such as Wimbledon and Cheltenham racing.
The quantities of food thrown away at the end of each day – from whole plates of salmon and crab, to fillets of beef – was horrifying. I repeatedly complained, or asked that staff be allowed take it home but the answer was always a firm no. I became obsessed about the food waste that was occurring every day in this country. When cooking for families, I would always turn the leftover salads or vegetable dishes in to delicious hummus or dips for the following meal. Nearly every day, the question would be “what’s the dip of the day Hannah?!”. It occurred to me while working in a comfortable office job in Central London, that what I really wanted to do was try to tackle this enormous problem. I realised that there was a great market for hummus- everyone loves it - and that I could capitalise on this and still pursue my passion to fight food waste at the same time. So I got up and left.
- How and where do you source the ingredients for your dips and how do you come up with the recipes?
At the moment I go to markets such as New Covent Garden Market, Western International Market and even North End Road to collect the surplus. I arrive very early and try and find traders who have fruit and vegetables that are unwanted that they can’t sell. There is however a lot more scope for other sources of produce. I get inspiration from the surplus that I bring home – I combine the flavours with other spices and herbs that I think will compliment each other and have great fun coming up with new recipes. To go into retail, I need to have 4-6 staple flavours that are consistent. I have made a decision on these, not only for their flavour, but I have also chosen them for their availability year round.
- What are your top clean-eating tips for staying well nourished throughout Autumn and winter?
To eat lots of raw vegetable hummus ;) lots of raw vegetables, greenery, garlic, ginger and lemon are staples that I like to stick to all year round but particularly in Autumn and Winter to stay strong. I love making soups, especially when I have a load of surplus – they’re so quick and easy to make and if you add extra goodness (such as the garlic, ginger and chilli) you’ll get all those added health benefits. If you read the ‘health benefits from hummus’ blog on my website, you’ll understand that the vegetables, spices and chickpeas will all keep you feeling thoroughly nourished. Make some homemade hearty seedy bread to have with your hummus and soup. For breakfast at the moment I’m making large smoothies with surplus bananas, figs and oranges. They’re delicious and filling. And nuts, nuts, nuts.
- You offer a selection of both savoury and sweet hummus – what’s your favourite flavour and why?
I would definitely have to go for one of the sweet hummus flavours because I’ve almost over eaten the savoury hummus and because I have a sweet tooth. I would probably say the banana, cacao and peanut butter sweet hummus is my favourite. I love peanut butter! I’ve also got a new fig recipe that I love.
- Where are you products available for purchase?
My products are so nearly retail ready – I have been doing some sampling at some independents and am very much looking forward to seeing the hummus on the shelves early next year hopefully. I’ll mention one that’s most local to me and that’s Bayley and Sage… but not until spring. Otherwise you can order the hummus from my website or come to any of the events we’re at (Taste of London this November) or organise a supper club!
- RECIPE - Our clean-eating readers would no doubt love ideas for how to make the most of the dips – what’s one of your favourite flavour pairings?
I think the favourite way for me to eat my savoury hummus is with a big salad, sometimes as a side with chicken. Or try it with oatcakes and chopped cucumber or veg on top. For the sweet hummus I love to top with superfoods, yoghurt, chopped dates, nuts or fruit and eat in a pot! All year round... I’d love to hear about your creations so if you do create a festive hummus, please share it with chicpfood on Instagram.
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