Our Story

Fruitcycle is a social enterprise that makes delicious, healthy, locally sourced snacks. We focus on using produce that would otherwise go to waste and we provide jobs for women who have been formerly incarcerated, homeless, or are otherwise disadvantaged.

A trip to a local orchard, where thousands of pounds of fruit were going to waste, led to Fruitcycle’s creation. Every day the U.S. wastes enough food to fill the Rose Bowl, while 1 in 6 Americans go hungry. While Fruitcycle cannot solve these problems alone, we hope to raise awareness of these issues, encourage others to get involved, and be a part of the solution.


Fruitcycle aims to do good – for its suppliers, its employees, its customers, its community, and its planet.

About the Founder

Elizabeth Bennett is the founder of Fruitcycle. She most recently worked for the United States Healthful Food Council as the Director of Outreach and Communications.

Elizabeth worked at the headquarters of Slow Food UK while pursuing a Master’s degree in the Anthropology of Food from the University of London. Prior to earning her Master’s degree, she was a Fulbright Fellow in Singapore, where she studied food policy, culture and history. Elizabeth graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Cornell University with a BA in History.


Jonathan Cohen, Founding Executive Director, William James Foundation (Now Mentor Capital Network)

Susan Galbraith, Founder, Our Place DC

Shelly Garg, Food and Drug Attorney, Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg

Danielle Vogel, Founder, Glen’s Garden Market

Where to Buy

Our apple chips are the perfect snack – they’re tasty and healthy with no fat, added sugars, or artificial ingredients. And they’re gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, and paleo, too.

They’re  available in our online shop and at the following retailers in the DC area, with more to come shortly:

District of Columbia


Ah Love Oil & Vinegar (Union Market)

Compass Coffee (Shaw)

Compass Coffee  – The Shay (Shaw)

Each Peach Market (Mt. Pleasant)

Glen’s Garden Market (Dupont Circle)

Good Food Markets (Brookland)

Hometown Harvest (Offering Delivery to DC, MD, VA)

Little Red Fox (Northwest)

Nicely (Free, Same Day Delivery within DC)

Pleasant Pops (Adams Morgan)

Pops Downtown (McPherson Square)

Sticky Fingers Bakery (Columbia Heights)

Tranquil Space (Logan Circle)

Uprising Muffin Company (Shaw)

Whole Foods Market (P St, Logan Circle)

Washington’s Green Grocer (Offering Delivery to DC, MD, VA)




Ah Love Oil & Vinegar (Shirlington, VA and Fairfax, VA)

Hometown Harvest (Offering Delivery to DC, MD, VA)

Salud The Healthy Pantry (Great Falls, VA)

Senzu Juicery (Del Ray – Alexandria, VA)

South Block Juice Co. (Clarendon, VA and East Falls Church, VA)

Washington’s Green Grocer (Offering Delivery to DC, MD, VA)




Hometown Harvest (Offering Delivery to DC, MD, VA)

Washington’s Green Grocer (Offering Delivery to DC, MD, VA)

Everywhere else



Farm to People (Brooklyn, NY)

Friends & Partners

In addition to our wonderful retail partners, the following organizations help us fulfill our mission:


Good Morning Washington

Local Company Fighting Hunger

We were honored to be featured on Good Morning Washington.  Click the link for the live interview!

Rustik Magazine

The Inner Beauty of Ugly Produce

That passion for social change is shared by Elizabeth Bennett, who founded Fruitcycle, which she describes as “a social enterprise that makes healthy snacks and provides second chances.”

Inspired by volunteer work with food banks in Washington D.C., she set about trying to find a better way to recover fruit before it went to waste. “I was trying to create a solution to the paradox that we waste 40 per cent of our food while 1 in 6 Americans go hungry.”

Fruitcycle employs formerly incarcerated or homeless women and primarily uses produce that would otherwise be wasted. Products currently include apple chips and kale chips and soon the company will be launching a line of preserves and syrups.

Pure Wow

Healthy Snacks Made from Produce that Would Otherwise Go to Waste

Do you want the bad news or the good news first? OK, we’ll rip off the Band-Aid: According to the USDA, Americans waste 31 percent of the food grown in this country. Meanwhile, 49 million Americans report not having enough to eat.

Now the good news (yay!): Some companies–like our new fave, Fruitcycle–are finding creative ways to repurpose produce that might otherwise go into the garbage.

Sierra Club Magazine

Taste Test

Elizabeth Bennett, the founder of Washington, D.C.-based FRUITCYCLE, believes in second chances. She collects wayward apples from under the trees of local orchards, dries them, and turns them into her Handcrafted and Hopeful Cinnamon Apple Chips, which are simply dusted with cinnamon. Bennett believes that humans, too, deserve another shot, so she partners with local nonprofits to hire homeless or formerly incarcerated women. $7 for a 2.4-ounce bag

Food Network Magazine

Inner Beauty

What becomes of fruit thats too ugly for the produce aisle? Some companies love it for what’s inside. MisFit Juicery uses them for cold-pressed juices, Fruitcycle makes dehydrated apple chips and Revive Foods turns them into five different jams.

Washington Post Express

Four D.C. Based Snack Companies to Try

Fruitcycle founder Elizabeth Bennett takes excess, bruised or misshapen apples and kale from local farms and spins them into delicious grub. Apples are dusted with cinnamon and dehydrated until chewy, while the kale chips are made with a cashew sauce that gives them crunch. Both are produced in Northeast D.C. and are gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan. Additionally, Bennett — formerly the director of outreach and communications for the U.S. Healthful Food Council — employs disadvantaged and formerly incarcerated women.

The Washington Post

Why Entrepreneurs are Suddenly Finding the Beauty in Ugly Produce

A food systems academic-turned-entrepreneur, Bennett launched her food-waste-focused business in Washington in the fall. Fruitcycle has since turned more than 9,000 pounds of excess apples into neatly packaged dehydrated chips sold at stores throughout the city.

Voice of America

Startups Link Consumers With Unsightly but Edible Produce

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that about a third of all food produced for human consumption around the world is lost or wasted throughout the supply chain. In the United States, many perfectly edible fruits and vegetables are discarded because of their less than perfect appearance. A new wave of startups is trying to find ways to bring that rejected produce to consumers. With Mary Alice Salinas narrating, VOA’s June Soh reports.


Waste to Taste: Startups Repurposing Food Waste with Delicious Solutions

Another local favorite is Fruitcycle. The company makes delicious, healthy snacks using produce from small, local family farms, while also providing jobs for women who have been formerly incarcerated or homeless. Their apple chips and kale chips are sourced from within 100 miles of Washington, DC and are made primarily with excess or “ugly” produce, thereby also reducing food waste.

Huffington Post

Change Makers: Elizabeth Bennett, Combatting America’s Food Paradox by Loving the Ugly

Elizabeth Bennett sees opportunities in the imperfect, the discarded, the undesirable. Put another way, she’s a big fan of ugly.

This redheaded wonder out of Washington, DC, is protesting the way we waste food in America, saving “ugly food” from the dumpster and repurposing it into yummy snacks. By doing so, she’s surging ahead with a business that seeks to not only earn a profit, but also to take a social stand to combat the hunger/food waste paradox facing America today.


An Introduction on D.C.’s Burgeoning Prepared Foods Scene


This company is all about turning less-than-perfect fruit into delicious snacks. Fruitcycle makes tasty and natural cinnamon apple chips from apples that would otherwise be thrown out. It also lives out its motto of providing second chances by employing women who are homeless or otherwise disadvantaged. You can shop online (including on Amazon) and at many stores in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia.

Specialty Food

Rejected Foods Find New Life in Fledging Industry Programs

“It’s a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation with consumers and retailers,” says Elizabeth Bennett, founder of Fruitcycle, which makes a line of fruit snacks, such as apple chips, from locally sourced imperfect fruit.

“We’ve come to expect perfect produce … at the grocery store,” she said, “and both the growers and the retailers will reject anything that’s not the right shape or color.”

Girl Meets Food

Fruitcycle: How Do You Like Them Apples?

There’s something about going to an orchard and picking your own fruit. The breeze in your hair, the sun on your skin, and the smell of ripe fruit permeating your nostrils. What isn’t felt is the thousands of pounds of fruit wasted due to bruising, over-ripening, or the untrained consumers’ eyes. It was during such a trip that Elizabeth Bennett, founder of Fruitcycle, conceived her business…recycling fruit before it became food waste.

The DCist

Capital Cheapskate: Diving Deep into Food Waste

Studies have found that roughly 4-10 percent of food at restaurants ends up in the dumpster before it reaches your plate, and restaurants can produce 25,000 to 75,000 pounds of food waste each year. The good news is there’s evidence the tide (of trash) is turning. “It’s a really exciting time for food waste right now,” said Elizabeth Bennett, founder of Fruitcycle, a D.C.-area company that repurposes discarded apples to make dried fruit snacks.

Marigold and Grey

Vendor Spotlight: DC Based Fruitcycle

Every day in this country, startup companies emerge with new ideas on how to make a profit. But it’s not every day that a startup company emerges with a solid plan for profit AND a blueprint for how to better society. Today, I am absolutely ecstatic to introduce to you Elizabeth Bennett, founder of the DC-based food startup Fruitcycle. The company mission? To produce healthy and locally-sourced snacks using produce that would otherwise go to waste, all while providing jobs for homeless, formerly incarcerated or otherwise disadvantaged women.

Fox 5

Apple Business Hires At-Risk Employees

An apple orchard and a second chance.  The two are now connected thanks to the mission of a new business.  As Fox 5’s Beth Parker shows us, getting off the ground is what this is all about.

Take Part

At Fruitcycle, Both People and Apples Get a Second Chance

What became of the apple that fell from the tree and hit Isaac Newton on the head? Did he eat it, fearful of going hypoglycemic during one of history’s most important discoveries? Or did the Englishman turn up his nose at the surely bruised fruit and leave it lying there in the dirt?

If Elizabeth Bennett had been there for the maybe-mythic moment, she would have picked up that seemingly useless fruit. Falling apples are her inspiration too—not for understanding the power of gravity but for starting a sustainable and community-driven social enterprise.

Elevation DC

Snack Maker Gives 2,000 Pounds of Apples a Second Chance

Elizabeth Bennett, the founder of Fruitcycle, hasn’t slowed down since her company won the audience favorite award at MessHall’s Launch Pad competition at the end of September. Her company has been blossoming: Fruitcycle apple snacks are now available in six stores in the D.C. area, Bennett had her own pop-up event in November and she recently hired her first employee.


In America: 20 Percent of Garbage is Food

Fruitcycle, a brand new D.C. snack start-up, partly inspired by D.C. Central Kitchen, is taking its own bite out of food waste by making its products with gleaned fruit from the Washington area. “I got this idea after going to an orchard and seeing thousands of pounds of fruit being wasted,” founder Elizabeth Bennett tells MA, noting that “every day we waste enough food to fill the Rose Bowl.”

Washington Post Express

Fruitcycle Spins Excess Produce Into Healthy Snacks

Elizabeth Bennett doesn’t believe in the concept of a bad apple. The local food anthropologist recently launched Fruitcycle, a snack line made using unwanted or excess apples from D.C.-area orchards.



Startup competition a “Launch Pad” for culinary entrepreneurs

Elizabeth Bennett felt her first entrepreneurial impulse at the age of sixteen. “Every day in America we waste enough food to fill the Rose Bowl stadium which is a 90,000 seat stadium and, meanwhile, 1 in 6 Americans are going hungry. And I just really think there is something horribly wrong with that and I wanted to do something about it.”

Miami Herald

New Startup Aims to Reduce Local Food Waste

Bennett entered her idea to make healthy snacks from produce that would otherwise go to waste in Mess Hall’s Launch Pad contest, where she competed against other food entrepreneurs and startups for investment and space at the District’s newest food incubator. After being selected as one of four finalists, Bennett was voted “audience favorite” for her cinnamon apple chips; she was awarded three free months of rent at Mess Hall.

Food Tank

Snacks to Deal With Social Problems: An Interview with Elizabeth Bennett

Elizabeth Bennett is the founder of Fruitcycle. Fruitcycle’s mission is “to do good – for its suppliers, its employees, its customers, its community, and its planet” through locally sourced and healthy snacks.

Wisconsin Rapids Tribune

Reducing Food Waste: Fallen Apples Make Healthy Snacks

Bennett travels 60 miles to the Delaplane orchard a few times a week to collect fallen apples, which she receives from the farmer at a discount — after all, she’s doing all the labor to collect apples that otherwise won’t sell. On a recent trip, Bennett gathered 200 pounds of apples in two hours by herself.



New Startup Aims to Address Local Food Waste

WASHINGTON — It’s difficult to believe, but in a country where more than 50 million people face hunger on a daily basis, an estimated 70 billion pounds of edible food goes to waste each year.  D.C. resident Elizabeth Bennett has been aware of these statistics for years. Bennett, 29, has a master’s degree in the anthropology of food and formerly worked in nutrition and food policy.

Bristol County Herald

New startup’s mission: to “chip” away at food waste

Bennett decided she wanted to do something to help reduce the amount of food being wasted in the local area, so she started gathering fallen apples from an orchard in Delaplane, Virginia, and turning them into dehydrated apple chips.


Gleaning Apples as a Business Plan: Fruitcycle

Washington, DC, food anthropologist Elizabeth Bennett witnessed this kind of waste herself at a local “u pick” orchard: according to TriCities.com, the sight of thousands of pounds of fruit on the ground moved her to action.  After confirming the amount of waste by spending some time gleaning apples at a different local orchard, Bennett decided to find a use for this wasted food… and Fruitcycle was born.

Elevation DC

Local Entrepreneur and Mess Hall Audience Favorite Gleans Apples for Snacks

Fruitcycle, a new startup that combines snack food with social enterprise, officially launched yesterday. Founder Elizabeth Bennett, who won the audience favorite award at Mess Hall’s Launch Pad competition last weekend, can finally focus on the business full time. And Day 1 found her gleaning 200 pounds of apples from beneath six trees for her business, as well as roughly 450 pounds of other produce for the Fauquier County Food Bank.

Washington Business Journal

Mason Dixie, Lulu’s [Fruitcycle] Among Finalists in Mess Hall Food Incubator Challenge

Some familiar names and some new faces are among the finalists in D.C.’s latest culinary incubator challenge. Fruitcycle: This brand-new concept from Elizabeth Bennett is just getting off the ground, according to Goldberg.

Have a question, comment, or just want to say hi? We’d love to hear from you, so send us an email at hello@thefruitcycle.com