Previously Discarded Foods Find New Life In Upcycle Trend – Packaging World

Imperfect produce and production byproducts are less likely to be destined for the landfill thanks to innovative upcycling techniques, an article from Food Business News said.

The Upcycled Food Association created an “Upcycled Certified” mark in 2021, offering companies a bar to reach for adding sustainability and reducing food waste. The certification defines upcycled food as food that uses ingredients that would have otherwise not been consumed by humans, is produced using verifiable supply chains, and positively impacts the environment.

FBN found several companies pioneering this trend, both certified and working toward certification, at this year’s IFT FIRST event in Chicago. 

One such company was fruit processor FruitSmart, Inc., which earned Upcycle Certification by converting fresh, but imperfect fruits into low-moisture fruit granules, pieces, and powders. The upcycled product can then be used in baked goods, bars, fruit and snack mixes, beverage smoothies, fruit preparations, and nutraceutical ingredients. 

FruitSmart furthers this sustainable innovation by creating fiber ingredients from the pomace byproduct formed during juice production. This upcycled fiber can be used in baking applications and in pet foods. 

Startup EverGrain Ingredients is also Upcycled Certified and backed by Anheuser-Busch. The brand turns barley used in the brewing process into protein ingredients through a proprietary process. Sold under the EverPro brand, the resulting product is made up of 85% protein.

Working toward certification is OFI, which innovated a fresh way to use the whole garlic plant. Garlic tops are usually tilled into fields or used as animal feed, but OFI dehydrates the often overlooked top and turns it into a powder. The resulting ingredient can add green color and garlic taste to several applications including pesto and sauces. It can also be dusted onto snacks, and even add fiber to pet food.

-Casey Flanagan, PMMI Media Group Editorial Assistant