What the Heck are Upcycled Ingredients?

What the Heck are Upcycled Ingredients?

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Upcycling is a relatively new term for an old concept of using food processing by-products to generate new food products. Years ago, we made sausages from meat scraps and jams from overripe fruit. Today, innovative companies are identifying nutritious by-products and are converting them into novel upcycled ingredients. Let’s find out more about what the heck are upcycled ingredients.

ugly vegetables

Why Create Upcycled Ingredients?

When food is wasted all the natural resources used to produce the food are wasted. When you upcycle, you don’t need to grow more crops, occupy more land, or consume more water. It supports a circular economy.

Richard Baker author of the Grocery Wars Blog Reducing Food Waste Through Upcycled Food states, “It is estimated that food waste costs the global economy $936B a year. From a human perspective, it is estimated 931 million tonnes of food go to waste each year with consumer households responsible for 61 per cent. According to the National Waste Council, Canadian households waste 2.2 million tonnes of edible food each year, costing the average household over $1,100 dollars each year.”

Turning Waste into Innovative Upcycled Ingredients

The Upcycled Food Association defines upcycled foods as those that use ingredients that otherwise would not have gone to human consumption, are procured, and produced using verifiable supply chains and have a positive impact on the environment.

Are consumers ready for recycled ingredients? Yes, they are. In my Top Five Trends Forecast for 2022, I not only discuss the theme authentic and transparency but also the good for me, good for the planet idea. Similarly, both themes encompass how consumers want to reduce food waste and are embracing innovative solutions to achieve it.

Last August, in my Final Proof Column Upcycled Ingredients for Bakers Journal, I had the opportunity to interview Dan Kurzrock, CEO, ReGrained. ReGrained is the leading innovation and ingredient platform creating upcycled foods at scale with food maker partners. I found out how they work with breweries to rescue the grain after they have extracted the sugars needed to make beer. Most importantly, through the advancement of technology, they create nutritious upcycled ingredients from this by-product ideal for the baking industry.

Recently, Puratos, a global leader in bakery ingredient and product innovation and ReGrained announced a partnership. Together, the companies share a customer-centric and agile approach for creating scalable and highly marketable upcycled baked goods that’s good for people and the planet. I’m looking forward to seeing and tasting their creations!

What the Heck are Upcycled Ingredients Final Thoughts

There are obvious functional and nutritional benefits of upcycled ingredients. Food companies are discovering how to incorporate these pioneering ingredients effectively into their products. As a result, the concept of upcycled ingredients offer the food industry an innovate opportunity to bring delicious, nutritious products to market, while reducing food waste and supporting a circular economy.

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