Upcycled food is on the up | FT Food Revolution

Upcycling, the practiseof using leftover, used, or rejected materialsto make new products, is well established infashion and furniture design. It's now also a trendin food production, driving a fast growingindustry in Europe and the US. The value of America'supcycled food market was estimated atalmost $47bn in 2019. The number of US companiesspecialising in upcycled food.

Jumped from just 11in 2011 to 64 in 2017, and by 2022 more than 140groceries certified as upcycled were available to shoppersin store and online. Small-scale food upcycling hasbeen around for a long time. Butchers using offcutsto make sausages, and fruit growerssending imperfect produce to manufacturersof jam or snack bars are typical examples. But the concept is expandingas sustainability and waste.

Reduction becomemore of a priority for companies focusedon climate goals, like those set out inthe 2015 Paris Agreement. Businesses are diversifyingand exploring new ways to transformtraditionally low value byproducts into nutritious,high-value food. Multinational beer giantAnheuser-Busch InBev is building two facilitiesin the US and Belgium for a total of $200mn toprocess spent barley previously.

Discarded or fed to cattle. Protein and fibre extractedfrom the recovered grain will be sold on to establishedcompanies like Nestlé, which plans to transform itinto dietary supplements. Upcycling has also inspired arange of successful start-ups. Founded in SanFrancisco in 2013, Regrained has attractedmillions of dollars in funding by turning brewingleftovers into flower, snack puffs, and pasta.

Another Californian company,Oakland-based Renewal Mill, grinds out flour,biscuits, and baking mixes from okara, a pulpy,protein-rich leftover from plant-based milkand tofu production. Corporate ingenuityis finding ways to create edibles from anarray of food industry scraps, including avocado seeds. However, delivering asuccessful upcycled product demands a range of skillsand technical capabilities,.

According to a 2020report from consultancy, Oakland Innovation. Another problem is thepotential environmental cost of processing andtransport, but that may be offset by thereduction in food waste. Upcycling what we wouldonce have thrown out is one way to helpfeed the world more efficiently and sustainably.

Upcycled food is on the up | FT Food Revolution

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