Published December 28, 2017

Mushroom cultivation with just coffee grounds

Helsieni provides coffee drinkers with a novel method for using coffee grounds as a cultivation platform for mushrooms. This solution helps consumers reduce waste while also producing truly sustainable local food.

Problem

Many people throw out waste that could be used as a breeding ground for food. For example, coffee grounds from a Finnish-style coffeemaker are usually put either into the regular waste or into biowaste containers. At the same time, the need for alternative, sustainable protein sources for meat is increasing as the world population, and therefore also the need for protein, grows. Local protein production is needed to diminish the emissions from food value chains.

Solution: mushrooms on your coffee

Helsieni grows oyster mushrooms on used coffee grounds. The company sells both mushrooms and do-it-yourself kits to anyone who wants to grow mushrooms themselves. The mushrooms are sold directly to restaurants in the Helsinki area and the DIY kits are sold in recycled plastic containers that Helsieni . For the kit users, the company provides the mushroom spawn that is needed for growing the mushrooms in the kit as well as growing instructions, and the customers use their own coffee grounds. Oyster mushrooms are one of the fastest growing mushroom species and can provide a local, sustainable source of food.

Business model and its benefits to Helsieni

The company’s business model is based on growing and selling the mushrooms and putting together and selling the self-starter kits. The mushroom spawn is sourced from the Netherlands and the plastic containers are given to Helsieni for free by restaurants. The biggest cost source for the company is labour. The business model allows Helsieni to really know its customers, as they sell locally. Local food is also a growing trend.

Benefits to customers and end users

Mushrooms are one of the most carbon-neutral sources of food and growing them on coffee grounds can even make them carbon negative. Being able to replace meat with much healthier mushrooms is one obvious benefit the products have for Helsieni’s customers. Also, the amount of organic or regular waste is decreased when using waste as a growing ground, therefore decreasing the costs and emissions from waste. If eating mushrooms becomes more popular, it can also bring new jobs to people who want to grow and sell them.

FACTS

Helsieni in a nutshell

Main industry: mushrooms; urban farming

Year of establishment: 2016

Net sales:   Below €1 million

Year of the launch of the circular economy solution:  2016

Share of the circular economy solution of the total business: 100%

Employees:    1-10

Based:  Helsinki

Website:  www.helsieni.fi

 

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