Some of the upcycled foods available at Misfits Market
The Lowdown on Upcycled Foods
According to the USDA, food waste is estimated to represent 30-40 percent of the food supply each year. Millions of people around the world don't get enough to eat each day, while tons of discarded food rots in landfills and produces a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions. When food is thrown away, all other of the other resources and energy used in producing, processing, transporting, preparing, and storing the discarded food are also wasted.
What are Upcycled Foods?
Upcycled food products source some of their ingredients from surplus food and/or food manufacturing byproducts which would have previously gone to waste. Certified upcycled foods contain ingredients which (a) would not normally be consumed by humans, (b) are procured and produced using verifiable supply chains, and (c) have a positive impact on the environment.
Upcycled foods contain ingredients which would not normally be consumed by humans
Environmental Benefit of Upcycled Foods
The primary environmental benefit of upcycled foods is that greenhouse gases are reduced by lessening the amount of food waste going to landfills. It's estimated that if 50–75 percent of food waste is reduced by 2050, up to 26 gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions could be avoided.
By choosing upcycled, you’re reducing global food waste and saving valuable natural resources!
Examples of Upcycled Foods
A hallmark of many upcycled foods is that new foods are created from crops that have already been cultivated, harvested, and used once, but still have more to offer. Forward thinking entrepeneurs are transforming food byproducts and scraps into unique and often very nutritious products for human or pet consumption, creating new sources of protein, other nutrients and fiber in the process.
... new foods are created from crops that have already been cultivated, harvested, and used once, but still have more to offer
Some examples of upcycled foods:
|🥕||Banana chips, potato chips and plantain chips made from "off-grade" fruits and vegetables.|
|🥕||Snack chips made from vegetable pulp left over from juicing.|
|🥕||Butternut squash seeds made into cooking oil.|
|🥕||Flatbreads and chips made from spent beer brewing grains.|
|🥕||Vegetable broth concentrate made from upcycled, fresh-cut vegetable remnants.|
|🥕||Pet treats made from "misfit" and surplus produce.|
|🥕||Pasta sauces made with upcycled tomatoes.|
|🥕||Sparkling beverages and upcycled vodkas made from whey which is a byproduct of the cheese making process.|
Some brands of upcycled foods (click on any logo for more information):
See the full list of certified upcycled products and learn more at the Upcycled Food Association web site.
Where Can I Buy Upcycled Foods?
Upcycled products are making their way into many major retail outlets including Target, Whole Foods, Walmart and Amazon. You can also buy upcycled products directly from some of the brands shown above. Go to the Upcycled Foods page for more information and to find links to all of the listed upcycled foods manufacturers web sites.
Misfits Market is an online grocer leading the way in the upcycled foods market. In early 2023, along with The Upcycled Food Association, Misfits Market co-sponsored the Upcycling Challenge, a contest for food entrepreneurs to create an innovative and delicious food product that repurposes excess food or waste. You can find a wide selection of upcycled foods available to purchase on the Misfits Market web site.
How Del Monte Foods is Leading the Way in Upcycling
A food doesn't have to be new to qualify as being upcycled. Del Monte Foods' Blue Lake Petite Cut and Blue Lake Farmhouse Cut Green Beans are made with 100% upcycled and sustainably grown green beans.
|🍑||In the year 2020, Del Monte estimates that it re-directed approximately 600,000 pounds of green beans that would have otherwise been fed to animals or turned into compost because they were too short, or were miscut at the end when the stem tips were removed.|
|🍑||During 2020 and 2021, Del Monte diverted 10 million pounds of peach pieces through a partnership with Feeding America. Small cuts of peaches that previously went to waste through the sliced peach production process became canned peach chips and were provided to those facing food insecurity.|
|🍑||Excess pineapple juice from canned pineapple processing gets repurposed into Del Monte® Fruit Infusions.|
|🍑||Del Monte is testing ways to repurpose previously unused excess syrup from their boba product lines into new products.|
"We're thrilled to support the upcycled food movement. By reincorporating nutritious ingredients into our products, we can create delicious food that is beneficial to people and the earth," said Molly Laverty, Senior Manager of Environmental & Social Governance of Del Monte Foods. "Preventing food waste is one of the most important ways we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and continue to grow good for our communities, the planet and all those who depend on us for healthy, nourishing foods." Read the full Del Monte press release.
Del Monte is one of the many food companies looking to curtail product waste and find new ways to use foods that would otherwise be thrown away. Proponents of upcycling say the practice could help reduce the more than 70 billion tons of greenhouse gases generated by food loss and waste, while creating new jobs and innovative products.
As consumers become more aware of sustainability, hunger and the environment, Few areas are likely to benefit more than upcycled foods.