Vitamix is the latest appliance-maker to address the issue of food waste in the consumer kitchen. The company today announced the launch of its Vitamix FoodCycler FC-50, a device that turns food scraps into additives for soil consumers can then use in their gardens.
The device itself is compact enough to fit on a kitchen countertop. As the explainer video below shows, food scraps go into a portable bucket, which, when full, goes into the FoodCycler device. The user then simply attached the lid and hits the power button, and the device agitates the scraps into a compound that can be used as soil additive:
Vitamix says the entire process can be done in four to eight hours, and works on not just produce but also meat and dairy items. A carbon filter built into the device gets rid of methane gases and odors.
The device is available now for $399.95, including a three-year warranty.
Vitamix is positioning the device as an alternative to composting, which remains challenging to a lot of consumers. At-home compost piles require quite a bit of time and maintenance. They can also attract rodents, and most guides tell you to avoid putting meat and fatty foods in your pile (see: rodents). Some cities provide bins for compost scraps that are picked up on a weekly basis just like trash or recycling, but that’s not yet a widespread practice outside major cities.
U.S. households waste roughly 76 billion pounds of food per year. And with more people now staying home to cook and eat, it wouldn’t be surprising if that number went up in the future.
The key is to help consumer break longstanding behaviors and habits around simply throwing scraps in the garbage bin or down the drain, and the painstaking nature of traditional composting is not likely to do that on a widespread basis. The seeming ease-of-use of Vitamix’s latest device could be instrumental in helping consumers change some of those behaviors.