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The scoop on sustainability

In the heart of Victoria, a city renowned for its vibrant community and commitment to sustainability, lies 49 Below, an ice cream company with a mission beyond just scoops and cones. Founded in 2015, 49 Below set out to craft delicious ice cream while fostering a positive impact on its community. As their journey unfolded, they found a unique path toward achieving their goal: the Upcycled Ice Cream Program.

Starting from humble beginnings in a converted garage, 49 Below steadily grew into a local favourite, offering unique flavours that captivated taste buds. The pivotal moment came in the summer of 2022 when they opened their first storefront. This marked not only a milestone for the company but also a new avenue to explore flavours and contribute to the community in meaningful ways.

Their desire to reduce food waste led to a fruitful collaboration with like-minded partners such as The Root Cellar, another proud member of BC Green Business and another champion for sustainability.

Inspiration struck when 49 Below observed The Root Cellar’s innovative approach to repurposing ripe and surplus produce for a neighbouring restaurant’s cocktail menu. This sparked the idea of “upcycled” ice cream, transforming food waste into delectable treats. For over a year, 49 Below has worked hand in hand with The Root Cellar, rescuing crates of produce that would have otherwise gone to waste and turning them into delightful flavours like Lemon Graham Bar, Ginger Pear Crumble, and Lime Mascarpone.

The collaboration extends beyond The Root Cellar, with partnerships formed with local businesses such as Good Side Baking, The Market Garden, Clives Cocktail Lounge, and Paws on Cook. Together, they rescue discarded ingredients like pastry bits, broken candies, peeled citrus, and ice packs, infusing new life into them through inventive ice cream creations and reusing waste for a new purpose.

However, the journey towards sustainability is not without its challenges. 49 Below has encountered hurdles such as managing the high water content of fruits, which can affect the texture of the ice cream. Yet, these challenges serve as opportunities for innovation, prompting the team to experiment and adapt, even finding alternative uses for unscoopable creations, which are given to restaurants for cocktail floats.

49 Below was founded to make people happy with ice cream, but they have found that anyone can be a champion of sustainability because it is the right thing to do. Their story underscores the power of small changes and community connections in transforming waste into valuable resources. By committing to reducing waste and giving back, they want to inspire others to follow suit, one sweet step at a time.

In the spirit of their journey, 49 Below encourages individuals to explore ways to make a difference in their own lives, whether it’s repurposing unwanted items, saving scraps, or embracing the “ripe and ready” section at grocery stores. Together, we can all take strides towards a sweeter, more sustainable future.