New data from the Upcycled Food Association (UFA) shows upcycled products are having an unprecedented and growing impact on the ability to prevent food waste. The organization predicts that the 141 Upcycled Certified™ products and ingredients they have certified will have the ability to prevent more than 703 million pounds of food waste per year.
“Upcycled foods 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,” according to an official definition co-authored by Harvard Law School, Drexel University, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), ReFED, and other experts.
Around the world, approximately US$1 trillion worth of food is lost or wasted every year. Project Drawdown, a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, ranks food waste reduction as the number one solution that can help curb climate emissions. The upcycled products and ingredients certification aims to capture that lost value, while also educating consumers about the tangible contributions they can make to creating a sustainable and resilient food system.
“The goal of the upcycled industry is to make it as easy as can be to prevent food waste,” says Turner Wyatt, CEO of the Upcycled Food Association. “Upcycled Certified™ is not only meant to give better data on the impact of upcycling, it’s also a consumer education tool.”
With the certification mark, consumers receive clear guidance about the presence of upcycled food ingredients in food, beverages, cosmetics, pet food, personal care products, household cleaners, and dietary supplements. Currently, a selection of products and ingredients from companies like Blue Stripes Urban Cacao, Del Monte Food, Inc., Renewal Mill, Imperfect Foods, and several others, are Upcycled Certified™.
Within the year, consumers can look out for a series of television commercials promoting Upcycled Certified products, along with more upcycled products that are similar to everyday products, like tea, bread, chips, or dried fruit.
“I think in the years to come, consumers will see the Upcycled Certified logo in every aisle of every grocery store, similar to how organic is today. With 99 percent of people agreeing that food waste is a problem, upcycled products are the sustainable option that appeals to people across the political spectrum,” Wyatt tells Food Tank.
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Photo courtesy of Sri Lanka, Unsplash