A YogurtNest is a multitool for the future. A future that's uncertain. One that requires a refreshed approach to how we prepare food, how we source food, how we consider waste, how we use less energy and how we stay healthy.
For a generation we have been carried along on a metaphorical wave of disposable consumption and a way of living that delivers instant satisfaction. We need everything yesterday. But our wave is entering shallow water and it's breaking. All the while the real waves of our oceans have been quietly delivering tides of waste and plastic to shorelines around the planet. We all look at photos of dead Shearwater chicks that have been fed plastic shards from their parents or Whales washed up on beaches with stomachs full of plastic bags or laybys strewn with Costa coffee cups or beaches with abandoned disposable barbecues and feel disgusted, and yet there is a strange overriding amnesia when we get to the supermarket and our trollies fill with the same products and the same single-use plastic.
Doing more at home is no less convenient. Making your own yoghurt at home with the help of a YogurtNest takes no longer than it would to make a nice cup of coffee. But there are more benefits...
1. Save Money
Once you start making your own yoghurt all you need to make more is a spoonful of what you just made, a clean jar and some milk. It's that simple. You don't need to pay a premium for plastic cartons of yoghurt from a supermarket shelf that include the costs of transportation, the fuel of trucks and the miles driven, the constant refrigeration required through production, transportation and storage, the environmental costs of making plastic cartons and their subsequent transportation, the printing costs and ink and not to mention the carbon footprint of the factory and machinery where the yoghurt is made. There is an impact at every turn. In a family environment, where yoghurt is a regular snack, a YogurtNest will roughly pay for itself within a few months and then you go on saving money thereafter. It's important to make it clear that making yoghurt in your own home is not a hassle. It just slots into your household routine. Easy. For most people we expect it's just not something they would ever have considered making, but once you experience the revelation of just how simple the process is, there's no going back.
2. Save Energy
A YogurtNest is made from fabric and cork. There are no plugs, no cables, no moving parts, no dials or LEDs and no timers. You don't need to leave an appliance switched on for hours. There is nothing to break and it's easy to wash. The only energy required is what it takes to heat your milk to 50 degrees, roughly five minutes on a hob.
3. Save the Environment
A YogurtNest is made from salvaged fabric. Fabric that was made and then left unused. So rather than resign old fabrics to waste, YogurtNest upcycles them thanks to the skilled handwork of experienced Portuguese seamstresses. Years down the line, when it's time to retire a YogurtNest, the fabrics can be used for another purpose. The filling is in fact cork, expertly harvested every nine years in a manner that does no harm to the tree and enables the cork oak savannas to flourish. Cork thrives in poor soil meaning that these hardy trees are the keystone for protecting and conserving the unique biodiversity of a fragile ecosystem. It's important that the traditional practises are maintained so that the already reduced cork oak forests are not lost further to cereal farming, housing development or eucalyptus plantations. Finally, let's not forget that 1% of the total sales from YogurtNests are re-invested back into conservation projects through the 1% For The Planet initiative. And then, of course, you have the benefit of not needing to buy any more single-use yoghurt pots, the type that break down into smaller and smaller pieces and are absorbed into the food chain.
4. Make it Healthy
Taking the reins of making food at home puts you in control of your ingredients, giving you the peace of mind that what you make is healthy and ethical for the family. No unnecessary additives, sugar, colours or preservatives, so you can choose exactly what to use to make a delicious yoghurt exactly how you like it. And then you can start to experiment with different ingredients - honey, nuts, granola, fruit, cocoa... whatever takes your fancy.
5. More than Yoghurt
Cork is a great insulator, locking in the temperature so that your milk is held within an ideal range for letting the live bacteria grow into a healthy yoghurt. And that quality gives each YogurtNest some special extra uses. Keep your drinks cool at the beach, protect fruit and snacks from the sun, keep food warm on colder days, wrap your bread dough in cloth to prove it before baking, slow cook rice and pasta dishes and take it with you on camping trips.
It's hard to write a piece like this and not come across a bit 'preachy'. That's not our intention. Perhaps don't see it as change, but more as adapting. Adapting how you prepare food at home to suit the needs of the world that exists now. Yoghurt is a very simple thing. It doesn't need a plastic pot, a foil seal, a plastic lid, a sleeve and enticing printed design. We can just make it ourselves.