‘Upcycling’ movement grows as people work to decrease food waste

A growing movement known as “upcycling” is trying to reduce food waste.

The upcycling process turns food into new products instead of throwing it in the garbage.

Bertha Jimenez moved to the United States from Ecuador to study mechanical engineering, but was soon engineering something else, flour.

She created flour using malted barley often thrown out after brewing beer.

Jimenez and her New York-based company, “Rise,” call it super flour.

“That’s twelve times the fiber, two times the proteins, and one third of the carbs,” Jimenez said.

“It’s like really, really delicious. And it’s also sustainable.”

Turner Wyatt, launched the Upcycled Food Association in 2019.

“It’s a way of taking otherwise wasted food, and creating something new and nutritious out of it to prevent food waste,” Wyatt said.

About 1.3 billion tons of food are wasted every year globally. The association represents more than 10 businesses across 20 countries. Some are startups with product lines devoted solely to upcycled food, like snacks made of salmon skin or makeup powder from rice starch.

“There’s already more than 400 upcycled products on the market, but consumers don’t know which ones they are,” Wyatt said.

The association unveiled a new label for Earth Day, coming to store shelves soon. It certifies products that have a net-positive impact on the environment, taking into account manufacturing and transportation.

“All of these things, it’s been declared a waste because the way we treat it. But it shouldn’t be a waste. It should be an ingredient. It should be food,” Jimenez said.

The Upcycled Food Association says businesses around the world lose a trillion dollars to food waste every year.

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