The Upcycled Food Association (UFA) has named the brands that participated in the Upcycled Certification Beta Program, a pilot initiative that formally launched the Upcycled Certification Program (UCP) this year. The ingredients and products these brands submitted to be certified represented the incredible innovation typical of companies in the Upcycled Food space.
Cometbio manufactures syrup blends that can be used in place of corn syrup in nutrition bars, gummies, candy and baked goods. Its formulation is high in fiber and lower in sugar and calories. Cometbio upcycles non-GMO crops, such as straw, leaves and shells, after harvest.
Apple fiber and blueberry fiber are the first two products this fruit and vegetable processor submitted for certification. After the company presses fruits for juices, it uses the leftovers, pomace, to make fibers, seed, seed oils and seed powders. Most of its products are available in organic and conventional varieties, according to Luca Da Ponte, vice president of sales.
This grocery delivery service allows consumers to order not-quite-perfect fruits and vegetables, discontinued or surplus items, and ends and pieces that otherwise would go to waste.
Lost and Found Distillery
Misadventure Vodka is, according to its website, "the first and only spirit made from excess baked goods" and the first carbon negative consumer product. Although the company uses baked goods, the vodka contains less than 10 ppm gluten, so it is considered gluten free.
This company's mission is to reharvest valuable nutrients from food that has been discarded. After drying this food—which removes pathogens and harmful bacteria—it can be used as ingredients for human, pet and plant food. NETZRO is also a certified B Corporation.
Phelps Pet Products
This contract manufacturer of private label and national brand pet treats makes meat-forward and plant-based dog treats. It upcycles fruits and vegetables that are used as ingredients in various products.
Pulp Pantry uses the pulp left over from cold-pressed juice to make vegetable-based chips, giving the grain-free snack both flavor and fiber from kale and celery. They also are organic, gluten free, non GMO and vegan.
The founders of ReGrained were dismayed when homebrewing a six-pack of beer left them with 1 pound of grain. They figured out a way to use that leftover grain to make savory snack puffs and nutrition bars, as well as wholesale ingredients.
To make its ingredients and pantry staples such as gluten-free flours and mixes to make cookies and brownies—as well as ready-to-eat snack products—Renewal Mill upcycles byproducts from plant-based milks and other foods.
"Tea" made from avocado seeds? Technically, no. But this tea-like beverage is brewed with upcycled avocado seeds, which have more antioxidants than green tea. The ready-to-drink beverage's ingredient list includes apple cider vinegar, monk fruit extract, natural flavors and organic malic acid.
Shameless Pets recovers ingredients from agricultural production, post-harvest leftovers and food processing and creates healthy, natural and grain-free pet treats. The company offers crunchy treats for cats, and biscuits, jerky bites, calming chews and more for dogs.
This innovation and venture hub of Mondelēz International is behind the brands Dirt Kitchen, air-dried crisps made of recovered vegetables; and Capao fruit bites, made with rescued and reimagined cacao plants.
Superfrau partners with yogurt makers to recover fresh whey that they infuse with flavor combinations to create a good-for-your-gut, ultra-hydrating, refreshing drink. The product is expected to go to market this summer.
Take Two Foods
This plant-based milk is made from barley recovered from beer brewing. Barleymilk has complete proteins, calcium and good fats, aw well as half (or less) of the sugar in other brands of plant-based milks.
Its upcycled bacon jams—available in a variety of flavors: classic, sweet chili, honey habanero and maple—are made with discarded bacon ends and pieces. And its Spiced Tomato Jam comes from a partnership with Philabundance, a hunger relief organization that gathers surplus farm products.
The website says this is water sourced 100% from fruit, and that it's coming this summer. Other website claims include no added sugar, organic goodness, 5 calories, new sustainable water source. And its from Blue Yonder Brands.
The Upcycled Certification Program formally opened on June 16 to all eligible ingredients and products, after the Beta Program ended:
- Lost and Found Distillery, Phelps Pet Products, ReGrained, Renewal Mill, Shameless Pets and Take Two Foods were granted some of the first certifications for products.
- Lost and Found Distillery, ReGrained, and Renewal Mill were granted some of the first certifications for ingredients.
Upcycled food helps reduce food waste by creating new, high-quality products from otherwise wasted—but perfectly nutritious—ingredients. Evidence shows strong consumer demand for upcycled foods, and recently, more groups have predicted that upcycled foods will be a major trend.
"About 80% of consumers are interested in trying upcycled products once they know what an upcycled product is, but only about 10% of consumers currently know. Seeing certified ingredients and products enter the marketplace is a momentous step for this Industry." said Turner Wyatt, CEO of the Upcycled Food Association. As the prevalence and diversity of upcycled products grows, so will the number of certified ingredients and products.
UFA expects hundreds of certified ingredients and products to hit U.S. grocery shelves by year's end.