Upcycling in the Food Industry: Highlights of Broad Adoption

Upcycling in the Food Industry: Highlights of Broad Adoption

Upcycling, long an approach adopted to help reduce waste ( Learn moreindustry. 
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Food Waste a Tremendous Problem
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At present, the United States wastes ( Learn morehouseholds.
Tackling this problem means addressing the waste of food that occurs at every step of the supply chain: from the fields to the factories to the restaurants and grocery stores, and then the consumers. 
Targeting The Consumer Vs. Production 
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Most reduction efforts target the consumer, but this is short-sighted when perhaps 2 billion pounds of food are wasted by factories every year – and only 33% of that ends up as animal food, meaning 660 million pounds are thrown away. That means the land, water, pesticides, fertilizers, fossil fuels, and labor that produced that food were wasted.
Byproduct Is The The Biggest Contributor
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By far the biggest contributor to all of this waste is byproduct, the secondary products from production practices. For example, juicing produces pomace – fruit sludge deprived of moisture. Cutting vegetables produces vegetable ends. And then there are peels, shells, and skins to consider. 
One objection that would be all too easy to raise is that these wastes are useless. Not so: they are edible and full of beneficial nutrients. Apple, carrot, and sweet potato pomace produced by juicing are fiber-rich.
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Upcycling Byproducts Back into the Supply Chain 
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This is where upcycling comes in. These byproducts can be rescued and put back to work in the supply chain. 
There is already a clear example to follow: whey protein, produced as a byproduct of cheese. Whey protein is used in so many different mainstream food markets that some dairy processors now create it with cheese as the byproduct. 
New Examples 
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Now, companies like Martin Bauer are picking up the torch and applying the same concept to other food leftovers – such as juice pomace, in Martin Bauer’s case. And then there is ReGrained, a company that uses upcycled grains leftover from beer brewing to produce zero-waste snack bars.
And then there is the Upcycled Food Association, created for the purpose of finding ways to upcycle food and grow this sector. President Caroline Cotto says the Association’s first directive is to formally define “upcycled food,” and they are doing this by collaborating with government agencies, industry, nonprofit partners, and universities. Their goal is to launch a certification ( Learn more2020. 
The Upcycled Food Association
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Upcycled Food Association is following the example carved out by the key industry players with whey protein decades ago, working to advance demand and production. The key difference is that this time, they are working to make the food sector greener and more environmentally friendly through certification. 
 

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