The Swag is a revolutionary food storage bag designed to keep fruit and vegetables fresh for weeks with over half a million produce bags sold across the US, New Zealand, the UK and Canada.
Founder and CEO, Peita Pini has taken the small Facebook business to a million-dollar company in just four years with growth of 30% year on year. Business highlights include a $150,000 Shark Tank deal and being named Oprah’s favourite sustainable product in O Magazine.
Over the past couple of months, there has been a 57% increase in The Swag purchases compared to this time last year, as Australians look for new ways to reduce trips to the supermarket, save money and prolong the life of their fresh food.
“In Australia, our reliance on plastic when we buy and store food that is essential to our wellbeing is having a toxic impact on our health, wallets and the planet,” Pini said.
“In recent months, families have been managing the delicate balancing act of buying enough fresh fruit and veggies for the family to reduce the need for frequent trips to the shops, but not too much that they will turn bad and need to be thrown out.
“When fruit and veggies are sealed in plastic, the condensation inside the bag or container results in nutrients leaving the fresh produce. Each hour or day the fruit or veggie is trapped inside plastic, it’s dying at a quicker rate than it otherwise would, losing nutrients while suffocating.”
The solution: The Swag
“Four years ago, I knew there was a better solution to combat both food wastage and plastic pollution and also reduce the cost of fresh produce to the household budget.
“After several years of research, development, design, manufacturing, trademarks and patents, The Swag was launched in August 2016 – an innovative, non-toxic, environmentally friendly, sustainable, machine-washable, compostable, breathable food storage and produce bag.
“It addresses three key issues faced by households around the world: access to affordable, quality nutrition, food waste and the devastating impact single use plastic bags are having on both our health and the world we live in.
“Each bag’s unique design allows fruit, veggies and leafy greens to stay fresh for much longer, naturally, helping families reduce waste and save money in the process.”
From start-up to international distribution
“When The Swag launched, I was working full time in media sales, but decided to challenge myself and do something that would benefit the planet in the future. With no experience in the online retail world or the textiles industry, I spent years of trial and error in my kitchen until I found solution that worked.
“After a positive response from family and friends, I launched The Swag through my personal Facebook account using a basic educational video. Within the first hour, I had over 60 orders, mostly from complete strangers who had viewed and shared the video. Now, over 76% of our sales are from social media and word of mouth.
“Recently, we’ve been looking at how we could bring this product into new markets, focusing on the USA and Canada, and seen an incredible response from people looking to decrease their food wastage.
Tackling Australia’s food waste problem
There are so many ways that Australians can help combat food wastage. Here are my top five tips:
- Take fewer trips to the grocery store (using your Swag bag) means less unnecessary purchasing and less food wastage
- Compost your food scraps (and the Swag once it has reached the end of its life) and recycle correctly to help stop unnecessary waste ending up in landfill
- Buy in bulk and avoid plastic if you can
- Shop at your local farmers market and buy local, seasonal produce
- Avoid buying anything that’s single use or individually wrapped small portions of food
Peita Pini is founder and CEO of The Swag, a food storage bag which is ethically manufactured and made in India.