KEC's All Natural Fruit Rolls
As a loyal supporter you already know that KEC’s mission is to serve and care for people with special needs. In order to achieve this mission we are constantly exploring new ways to raise funds to keep our programs going. With fewer and fewer grants available we started to think about what KEC can do to help itself be more financially sustainable. Over 20 years of exploration we have had a lot of ideas. Not all of them good ideas. Most of them involved too much effort (most of which could not be done by the beneficiaries) and very little profit. After one idea we were stuck with an industrial food dryer and a freezer full of berries. We started to think (and to be honest worry a bit) what to do next.
We needed to come up with an idea that would use the equipment we had and be something that we could take pride in. Since the Serbian diet is very meat oriented (you won’t find a lot of quinoa on the menus) and not very health conscious we wanted to make something that would also be a healthy alternative. So we challenged ourselves to come up with a natural snack that didn’t already exist on the local market. Many reincarnations later we have the Gardenika Fruit Roll made from 100% fruit. Our fruit roll is a strip of pure fruit rolled up just waiting to be gobbled up by kids and adults alike.
In order to make this enterprise work we had to bring in as many partners as possible. We partner with the supermarkets that sell our fruit rolls (and employ many of our beneficiaries) to rescue their surplus fruit. We get those apples, bananas and strawberries immediately to our blenders and food dryers to transform them into the fruit rolls that we sell back to the markets. Our beneficiaries are involved in every aspect of the work from picking up the fruit to putting the KEC label on each bag. In the beginning we were selling a few rolls to the small corner health stores. Today, our rolls are in most of the big chain supermarkets in Belgrade.
For the moment KEC’s fruit rolls are a nano-enterprise. The production is tiny and while sales are growing they remain small. But as healthy snacks become more common in Serbia we hope that our nano-enterprise will grow into a micro-enterprise and one day a full-fledged small business. Considering that any profits we make are reinvested in KEC’s programs for people with special needs we are sure that we will succeed.
If you are in Belgrade buy a bunch of Gardenika Fruit Rolls each time you see them on the supermarket shelves. Supporting KEC helps us to continue to implement the fruit roll project as well as all our other much needed programming for people with special needs (and along the way we might help make Serbian kids and adults a little healthier).
Fruit Rolls Mean Work for People with Special Need
He Knows What's Good
Two Ingredients: Fruit & Love