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Upcycled Food Association launches with growing membership, plans for 2020

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New trade association reduces food waste by growing upcycled food industry, works towards product certification program.

After a recent launch last October at the ReFED Food Waste Summit, the Upcycled Food Association (UFA), has grown to more than 35 Members and Associate Members, with plans to create an upcycled food certification this year.

60% of consumers are looking to buy more products with upcycled ingredients, because 95% of them think it's important to do their part to reduce food waste, according to leading product development company, and UFA Associate Member, MATTSON. UFA was founded by upcycled food companies to reduce food waste by systematically supporting upcycled food businesses, who use otherwise wasted food to make new high quality food products.

Working with government, academic, industry, and nonprofit partners, the UFA has started research to formally define "upcycled food" by April 2020. Using this definition, the UFA aims to launch an upcycled certification program in October 2020, helping consumers identify upcycled foods in the grocery store, so they can opt for the more sustainable choice. UFA is also tackling some research and policy initiatives, and working to develop infrastructure to grow the upcycled food economy, which is worth more than $46 billion now, and expected to grow to more than $70 billion in the next decade.

Food waste movement leader Turner Wyatt has been hired as CEO of UFA. “Reducing food waste is the third most important thing we can do to help the environment, and it also happens to be great business,” said Wyatt, adding that “upcycled food will soon be a ubiquitous part of a more sustainable, abundant food system. We’re building a food system in which all food goes to its highest and best use.”

UFA is actively recruiting Members and Associate Members, who had the following to say about the formation of UFA:

Food upcycling is important because food waste from manufacturing represents approximately $500 billion dollar per year. NETZRO is committed to taking this value and feeding 800 million people instead. This is a big goal which we can not do alone. The Upcycling Food Association is crucial to NETZRO to bring together other food upcycling companies along with resources to share. Together we can educate food companies as well as consumers to make a difference together.” - Sue Marshall, CEO, NETZRO

“At Griffith Foods, we’re unrelenting in our drive to form relationships that bring the right expertise to help us deliver on our Purpose. Through our strategic partnership with the Upcycled Food Association, we can help scale the edible upcycling revolution and continue to create innovative and sustainable solutions to nourish the world.” - Jim Thorne, Senior Vice President Global Strategy and Marketing at Griffith Foods

"We are thrilled to be founding members of the Upcycled Food Association. For the last 7 years we have focused on making a dent in the number of bananas wasted each year. The somber reality is 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted annually, enough to feed the entire population of India and China.  The enormity of food waste is bigger than any one brand and the Upcycled Food Association will help channel our collective efforts to make lasting change" - Matt Cliford, Co-Founder, Barnana

“We’re aiming to make ‘upcycled’ as universally understood as ‘organic,’ and know that we need to band together to do it. As the climate crisis accelerates, upcycling is no longer a nice-to-have, it’s a need-to-have. Renewal Mill is honored to be helping spearhead this initiative.” - Caroline Cotto, Renewal Mill COO & UFA Board President

“At the Drexel Food Lab In Drexel University’s Department of Food and Hospitality Management, we have been focused on helping manufacturers realize the potential of upcycling for profit, environmental benefit, nutrition, and deliciousness. We’ve been providing ideas, research, and technical assistance to companies ranging from student start-ups through multinationals. It’s gratifying to see the industry embrace this potential. With the UFA’s work, upcycling won’t be a quirky story but will be as enthusiastically received as other better-for-you/better-for-planet foods are in the marketplace.” - Jon Deutsch, Dexel University Professor and UFA Co-Founder

“We see food waste as the number one issue in our industry. It is an issue without a single cause or single solution. There are a lot of like minded companies coming at this problem from innovative angles. Coming together, we can learn from each other, lean on each other and, thoughtful collaboration, lead the industry to a more sustainable future. That’s why the UpCycled Food Association made sense for us, that’s why we are proud to be a founding member.” - Mike Orachewsky, CEO, TBJ Gourmet

"As Food Upcyclers, we look at what is left behind when making our favorite foods and see opportunity. Our mission is rescue overlooked, but awesome ingredients and put them back to work—fueling your day, your taste buds, and your imagination—ultimately helping to create a food system that does more with less." - Dan Kurzrock, CEO, ReGrained & UFA Board Member

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