It’s called Spare Tonic, and it’s label touts it as a sparkling, probiotic-rich tonic, but it’s really a tonic adjacent mixer that could be classified in a category all its own.
Brothers Adam and Jeremy Kaye created this cocktail mixer using whey from yogurt production that would otherwise be discarded. The whey is then combined with fruit, spice and just a touch of honey. “Our target for Spare Tonic is health conscious and eco-minded consumers for whom food offers nourishment but is also a framework for connection, shared values and global exploration,” says Adam.
“We are at the forefront of upcycling, and Spare Tonic is our first product,” adds Jeremy. “Spare Tonic is an effervescent, functional beverage made from whey.”
Spare Tonic, made in New York from whey that would have been discarded in the production of Greek yogurt, comes in four flavors: lemon & ginger, cucumber & lime, blueberry & ginger, and peach & turmeric, and it retails for about $3.99/can. Every can contains about 85 to 95 percent whey that would have other wise been discarded during the production of strained yogurt, Jeremy notes.
For every one cup of strained yogurt that is made, two cups of whey are also created, and they’re usually discarded. In New York State, where 70 percent of the strained yogurt consumed in the country is produced, more than one billion pounds of whey is also created annually.
Spare Tonic itself is a nutrition drink, providing protein, electrolytes, and vitamins B-12 and B-6. “It has a natural three to one carbohydrate to protein ration, which also makes it ideal as a post-workout recovery beverage for fitness enthusiasts,” Adam says.
Bartenders, Adam says, are using Spare Tonic as “a plug and play cocktail solution.” It’s being served straight as a non-alcoholic option, but it’s also being used in cocktails and mocktails as a base, too. One such example is the Matcha Cucumber Lime Tonic from Chalait Matcha .
Prior to creating The Spare Food Co., Adam worked for two decades at Blue Hill at Stone Barns as chef, culinary director and educator. Jeremy worked for both Patagonia and Nike before the two of them created their own company. The genesis for Spare Food and Spare Tonic came about after Adam co-created successful wastED pop-up restaurants in both New York and London. “The ethos of our company is captured in every can,” says Adam. “We take an unused ingredient and craft it into a delicious food. In the process, we eliminate climate-destructive waste, support a regional food system of farmers, and bring a healthful product to the market.”
“Our mission is to fix the broken food system and by preventing food from being wasted before it happens and to keep it at its highest purpose, as food people,” says Adam.
The whey for Spare Tonic is sourced from The White Mustache in Brooklyn, NY, which uses milk from dairy farms in the Hudson Valley. Since Spare Food began its purchasing of excess whey, The White Mustache was able to expand their yogurt production, hiring more people and buying more milk from family farms.
“We are committed to show how a better food system and food choices can reverse the effects of climate change,” says Jeremy. “This is at the heart of everything we do.”
Since the company founded last April, they’e expanded from six retailers and restaurants to 70 across New York City, and now, customers in21 states have sought them out for direct purchase online. “We see 2022 as a year of great potential as brand awareness grows and we scale production to meet the pent-up demand,” Jeremy says.