Expert Speak: The Upcycled Food Trend Is Here To Stay

by | January 5, 2021, 18:18 IST


Studies show that one-third of the food manufactured is wasted every year. According to the United Nations, 190 million people remain under-nourished, even though the country has adequate food production. Hence, it is important and worth the effort to be conscious about the quantity of edible food that is thrown away on a daily basis. During this pandemic, it was understood that food consumed on a daily basis is both vital and complicated. Irrespective of the food item, every ingredient present in a dish goes through an extensive journey before reaching the table. Right from farming and processing to distribution and treatment, the entire food supply chain process is complicated. And a not-so-savoury result of the global food supply chain is food waste.

Thankfully, it is now recognised that what was considered waste edibles can now be put to use. The concept of upcycled food is already trending in various countries, because food waste is an alarming concern related to both the food system and the climate. Chefs are coming up with delicious dishes and ways to cook with food scraps; one would never know what food waste they are eating! Soon, upcycled food will be up on super markets shelves too. Here's how the trend is slowly catching up:

What Is Upcycling?
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According to the Upcycled Food Association, upcycled foods are ones that use ingredients that otherwise would not have gone to human consumption; these are procured and produced using verifiable supply chains, and have a positive impact on the environment. Upcycling is a major necessity as the U.S. Department of Agriculture has estimated that between 30 to 40% of the food supply is wasted or lost, which adds up to about 133 billion pounds a year.

Taking Charge
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Upcycling of food is gaining popularity in various industries. The growth in the food and beverage industry, in particular, is eye-opening and generates many prospects for companies looking to get on board with the trend. As the food production industry continues to feel the economic and environmental implications of food waste, more companies are creating channels and partnerships to source upcycled ingredients, thus helping to curb the amount of food that goes to waste globally per annum. However, spreading awareness about the issue of food waste at the consumer-level, while also supporting manufacturers and suppliers in their efforts to conserve food, is required to bring about societal change.

Lean Trend

The current trend is to go lean. We can’t have the luxury of being able to casually toss scraps. Rather, the businesses that pull ahead are those that make smarter use of “waste” products. Keeping the current situation in mind, consumers care about their food sources just as much as they care about the environment. Upcycling combines the two, and gives you a powerful messaging tool. And it’s only going to get better as more and more consumers understand what goes into upcycling.

Reuse Food Scraps

Image: Shutterstock

Using food scraps at home is good for the planet and also for your wallet. People can start getting into small habits like keeping a stockpile of veggie scraps to use in making another dish, or to make broth. In the same way, the pulp left over after juicing can be used in many ways.

Across the world, companies are innovating. Today, we can see a yoghurt company using surplus fruit and whey, a by-product of the yoghurt production process, to make probiotic tonics and frozen probiotic pops. Another company is using leftover fruits and vegetables to make chips without the use of preservatives, and so on. Chefs, too, are innovating and making optimum use of the peels of vegetables and fruits in dishes as this part of nature’s produce is largely unconsidered by many.

With an increasing awareness about upcycled food, people do not want to waste food. There is an increasing knowledge about the need to conserve energy, resources and, hence, the environment by not wasting food.

Also Read: International Culinary Expert Mariko Decodes Wellness Food Trends For 2021
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