One of the consumer trends we observe gaining momentum globally is “act for future”, which refers to the ever-evolving sustainability trend encompassing both environmental and ethical concerns in a quest to positively contribute to the world of today and tomorrow. The health of the planet is now the #1 global issue of concern according to Innova’s Lifestyle & Attitudes Survey 2021.
In this article, we aim to take a closer look at reducing food waste by upcycling and its opportunities for the food industry.
There are numerous options available for consumers wanting to play their part in reducing waste:
The impact of the food system on sustainability is substantial. The FAO (Food & Agricultural Organization of the UN) estimates that food system emissions represent 33% of all human-related greenhouse gas emissions. A major topic here is food loss and waste. An estimated 1/3 of all food produced globally is lost or goes to waste.
One area of interest for consumers is upcycling. Consumers can be creative in giving a second life to various things, from furniture, clothes, toys, packaging material or also food: managing our waste by recycling, upcycling, repurposing, or avoiding it in the first place. All of this is especially relevant for the food industry and the upcycling of food waste as consumers are increasingly looking for food options that are healthy for them, but also for the planet.
Consumer interest in upcycling food already exists: According to Mattson, 95% of consumers felt it was important to play their part in reducing food waste in their own lives. 35% of consumers globally find a product with upcycled ingredients more appealing than other products (Source: Innova Trends Survey 2021). In addition, according to Innova, there has been a +54% average annual increase in food & beverage launches with a food waste and/or upcycling claim between 2016 and 2020.
To ensure the trustworthiness of the upcycled ingredients, the Upcycled Food Association in the US has launched the world’s first trademark certifying upcycled food:
They certify both upcycled ingredients as well as consumer products with upcycled ingredients in food & beverage, petfood, household as well as personal care products.
At AGRANA Fruit, we really do love fruits – in all shapes and formats. That’s why we take utmost care to avoid food waste or losses as far as possible along our entire value chain: from harvesting the fruit in the field to delivering the ready-to-use preparations to our customers for delicious yogurts or ice creams.
Below we highlight some examples of how we avoid food waste & upcycle:
In our first transformation process, meaning when processing fresh fruit into frozen fruit or purees, we make sure we use the whole fruit. When producing frozen apple cubes, for example, there is also a small quantity of irregularly shaped apple cubes which do not meet the requirements for being sold as frozen apple cubes. We simply turn these into puree to make sure no precious fruit is wasted.
Whether we produce frozen fruit, purees, or fruit preparations with pieces, one important parameter is always the ripeness of the fruit. Less ripe fruit is usually firmer and more suitable for use as large fruit pieces – more ripe fruit is softer and more suitable for use as smaller fruit pieces or purees. So, depending on the outcome we want, we use fruit at the right level of ripeness to avoid any wastage.
Another way to reduce food wastage is to use parts of fruit that have otherwise not been used. Our subsidiary Dirafrost did exactly this with its cocoa fruit puree. The pulp of the cocoa fruit makes up a large part of the whole fruit and was previously disposed of or only used as animal feed. This part of the fruit is now turned into a valuable fruit puree, adding taste and texture to numerous food products: Find out more here