Helping End World Hunger, One Crunch At A Time — An Interview With Betty Lu, Founder of Confetti Fine Foods

2 weeks ago, WOLF + WALD and Confetti Fine Foods got together for a fun collaboration, sharing the joy of healthy drinks and snacks with the Singapore community. We’ve finally had the chance to speak with Betty Lu, Founder of Confetti, to reminisce her travels and to find out why helping end global hunger has become a priority for her.

WW: You’re known for being an avid traveller, leaving your footprint across many countries. Yet, the core of Confetti Fine Foods’ culture is still Singapore’s heritage. Could you share with us why, and what value you feel it’ll bring to Singaporeans and consumers overseas?

Betty: Singapore has a rich culinary heritage. We are at a strategic crossroads of the East-West trade which brings the most beautiful harmony of cultures and flavors. My travels have inspired me to create a snack company that can leave a positive impact whilst paying tribute to the world by allowing global consumers to travel to Singapore via snacks as a medium. Our snacks are lovingly crafted from real vegetables, are nutrient dense, and allow people a fun and adventurous way to eat the colors of the rainbow in exotic flavors. We use up-cycled ugly veggies to resolve the food wastage pandemic, whilst donating a portion of these nutrient-rich snacks to feed the hungriest people in the world.

WW: We’ve been very moved by this initiative of yours. Was there a particular experience that left an indelible mark on you, spurring you towards alleviating this long-standing societal impoverishment? (If possible, please also share how many individuals/villages you’ve been able to benefit)

Betty: Yes, the extended travels were an eye-opening experience. I feel blessed to have seen many places that are beautiful but also places that are suffering. About 800 million people face hunger and malnutrition every day, and 8.6 million die from hunger each year, most of them children. 40% of nutrient-rich produce is discarded annually largely due to cosmetic reasons. It’s an insane amount of waste while people are dying from hunger which is exacerbated more now due to the current pandemic. At Confetti, our mission is to try to solve both challenges by up-cycling ugly produce to craft into tasty gourmet snacks, and donating a portion of our nutrient-dense products to feed the hungry. A “Robin Hood” approach. Since our launch, we have managed to donate 8,000 packets to vulnerable groups in Singapore like the Migrant Workers Center to bring some joy and nutrients into their lives amidst the pandemic. We look forward to scaling up globally in the next few years so that we can contribute more to end hunger and empower vulnerable communities in the world.

WW: Confetti is the world’s first vegetable chips to be made from ugly veggies. It’s apparent that your entire supply chain is working towards being fully sustainable. Do you see a future in Singapore where all F&B companies can adopt solutions that are as impactful and “earth-saving”?

Betty: Yes absolutely. And we are already seeing strong growth and interest here with consumers choosing sustainable and healthy options. We work with sustainable and mission-driven companies like Foreword Coffee, Tea Pasar, Nourish, SPRMRKT and The Green Collective which source regionally and support fair trade farmers. SusGain, Festival for Good, raiSE also help consumers make quality purchases that support sustainability, and even treatsure focuses on reducing food waste in Singapore. Am truly inspired by the wonderful entrepreneurs I meet on a daily basis who are driven by impact and inspired to create a positive change.

WW: Congratulations on launching Confetti in Singapore! How do you feel about other countries wanting a piece of Confetti on their shelves? Is there anywhere else in the world we can expect to find these real veggie crunchies in the near future?

Betty: We are seeing strong interest in North America, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific. We look forward to sprinkling Confetti to these markets in the near future to meet the explosive consumer demand for tasty plant based snacks. We are very excited to grow Confetti into a global snack company to bring more colors into people’s lives. It would be inspiring to see the creation travel further than its creator. We are grateful for the opportunity to make other people happy even though they may be far away. That would be ironically beautiful.

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WW: You experimented in your own kitchen to create Confetti. Outside of managing your fast-growing business, what other personal culinary adventures have you taken on?

Betty: I’m in love with cooking which I find very therapeutic. Whether it is volunteering at a food bank, a homeless shelter or cooking for the vulnerable, I think love is expressed best by food which is a recurring theme throughout the world. Food bonds people regardless of which culture they come from. I love dining with indigenous tribes, and the most memorable was with a tribe in the heart of New Caledonia. Produce was sourced from the land, cooked in the ground, and the philosophy there is that no one owns the land, everyone shares it. That’s our ethos as a company to truly instill an inclusive culture where diversity is celebrated via our recipes or the ugly veggies that we use. It’s a safe space to experiment, explore, and embrace things that are interesting even though they may be strange or bizarre.

I also love exploring food markets, farmers’ markets and bazaars in my travels, and visiting farmers who have a strong passion in bringing wholesome produce. Confetti has an exceptionally talented Chef in Residence, Mitch Prensky, who is based in Manhattan. We love exploring brilliant ideas for Confetti snacks that are innovative by using ugly vegetables to bring joy, surprise and astonishment to the consumer. The adventure is to bring snacks inspired by the world and gift it as a tribute. We want to create an experience of wonder by using authentic recipes with a rich culinary history. We want to bring people on a journey to travel the world through a snack and indulge in a diversity woven by fascinating cultures.

WW: We ask everyone from our “WOLF + WALD Founder Stories” series this question — what advice would you give your younger self before embarking on this venture?

Betty: Take risks, be bold, explore. Go out and do things beyond your comfort zone because that’s where real growth happens. Do something that no one else has done before. Go off the beaten path. It’s better to fail at something audacious, then to create something boring and forgettable. I would tell my younger self to focus everything on creating a strong brand. A powerful brand is selfless in the sense that it elevates and empowers people, brings joy and wonder, and helps people live better and slightly happier lives. It should also be fun to interact with and is constantly evolving and adapting to change. Start now, start younger. There is never a good time to start, and you will never find conditions that are perfect. Just start anyway. Get the ball rolling. Whatever you think you might need will come along the way. You can always polish the ball then. Remember to take play seriously! More magic, less logic. That’s where the most interesting fun stuff happens.

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