The Upcycled Food Association (UFA) announces its 100th Member to join since the nonprofit was formed less than a year ago: DOLE Packaged Foods, LLC. This marks the first global, consumer-facing company to become a member of UFA, an organization with the mission of reducing food waste through food upcycling. The announcement is made in celebration of the United Nations’ International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste.
The Upcycled Food Association was co-founded by nine mission-driven businesses in 2019, and has quickly become the center of gravity for the growing upcycled food industry. The 100 businesses within the UFA represent 15 countries and consist of a mix of consumer packaged goods, ingredient supply and service provision companies. While several large ingredient companies have already joined the organization, including IFF and Griffith Foods, DOLE joining signifies growth in consumer understanding and acceptance of upcycled foods, which prevent food waste by creating new, high-quality products from otherwise wasted ingredients.
Pier Luigi Sigismondi, president of DOLE Packaged Foods, LLC., said today that DOLE was delighted to become a double milestone member of the Upcycled Food Association, becoming its 100th Member and the first global corporate to sign up.
“We share the same values and goals. Nourishing people is our business, so we take it personally when a third of all the food produced in the world is wasted,” said Sigismondi.
“Through our Dole promise, we have made a zero waste commitment and to achieve this we are looking for innovative ways to convert less-than-perfect produce into affordable, innovative forms of nutrition. We are excited about what UFA can bring to our efforts and what we can do ourselves to support the association to connect and educate growers and consumers,” he said.
Evidence does show strong consumer demand for upcycled foods, with multiple recent studies showing that more than half of consumers are interested in buying more upcycled foods. These findings are in alignment with a recent study from Genomatica, which showed consumers are increasingly interested in buying sustainable products, despite COVID-19.
“Today, we celebrate International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste with the demonstration that the upcycled food movement is global and scalable,” said Turner Wyatt, CEO of Upcycled Food Association. “Upcycled food gives consumers the ability to reduce food waste every time they shop for food. The participation of Dole in the upcycled food movement will help bring this solution to scale. Together, Members of the Upcycled Food Association will prevent tens of millions of pounds of food waste this year.”
“Like all growers, we aim for the highest possible quality standards. Some of our produce does not make the grade as fresh or as packaged products. This worries us, given growing food insecurity. Where many forms of agriculture return imperfect products back to the land via composting, we would rather see our produce feed people. The upcycled food movement is very much in line with our values around sustainability and growing value,” Sigismondi said.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that 8% of all greenhouse gas emissions can be attributed to food waste. This year, reducing food waste was recognized as the single greatest solution to global warming by Project Drawdown, the global leader in ranking climate change solutions.
Upcycled food, a term which was formally defined in a paper co-authored by UFA, Harvard Law School, NRDC, World Wildlife Fund, Drexel University, ReFED and others, is made from ingredients that would have otherwise been wasted, and has a positive impact on the environment. Over 400 upcycled products already exist, and UFA is launching a product certification later this year as a way to increase access to these products.
Source: Upcycled Food Association