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Ingredient upcycling

According to the FAO, the annual market value of food that is lost or wasted globally is approximately $940 billion. Despite this surplus of food, over 820 million people around the world are undernourished, and one in nine suffer food insecurity and hunger. According to ReFed, in the US alone, food waste amounts to 35 to 103 million tons of food, with an estimated total loss of around 62.5 million tons annually. Of that amount, 52.4 million tons ends up in landfills or incinerators and 10.1 million tons are lost as on-farm waste. The Upcycled Food Association views upcycling as part of the solution to this food waste problem.

"Supermarkets are picky when it comes to produce aesthetics. If fruits and vegetables don't meet high standards for appearances, they cannot be sold. They're thrown out instead, which is a tragic loss of valuable nutrients and resources, particularly in a world where people struggle to meet the daily recommended intake for fruits and vegetables."

The upcycled foods is to reduce food loss and waste, thereby decreasing the negative impact on the environment of overproduction and waste while increasing access to safe, sustainable food sources for people around the world.

The concept of upcycling is simple

It’s about doing more with less and elevating all food to its highest and best use. Food waste can accumulate at any stage in the food production supply chain. For example, some fruits and vegetables that fail to meet certain aesthetic standards to be sold at retail, end up getting composted, tilled into the ground, or sold as livestock feed. Other fruits and vegetables may be peeled (like an orange or a potato) with the peel destined for landfill. With upcycling, that same peel can be used as a citrus essence in a cosmetic product or the potato peel as an ingredient in a companion animal pet food.

"These ‘waste’ materials still possess nutrients and calories and rather than be considered as rubbish, they should be deemed as ‘ingredients’ to be utilised in other finished products."

Check out the Upcycled Food website (, it’s worth taking a look. As the old proverb goes: one man’s trash can be another man’s treasure.

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