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World's First Mark Certifying Upcycled Food in Products

August 23, 2021 Kelly Kovack
August 23, 2021
Jo Lanta via Unsplash

The United Nations estimates that $400 billion of food is wasted before it even gets delivered to stores. Upcycling as a concept now has a formal definition and certification program for ingredients and products put forth by the Upcycled Food Association.

While still a niche concept, upcycling food waste is gaining traction as brands repurpose food that would otherwise go to waste into new ingredients and products.

"Consumers are growing increasingly aware of sustainability and their own purchasing power. They're looking for new ways to engage in sustainable practices, and are willing to try new things to do so," says Kelly Landrieu, Global Coordinator of Local Brands at Whole Foods Market, which predicts upcycled foods will gain prevalence in 2021.

The world's first mark certifying upcycled food in products gives consumers a crucial tool to address climate change through purchasing power. The Upcycled Food Association has opened enrollment for its Upcycled Certification Program, which represents the culmination of more than a year of work with myriad stakeholders committed to reducing food waste by developing new markets and opportunities for all parties engaged with food products.

The third-party-certified program lays out a rigorous set of rules establishing definitions for upcycled ingredients and products, providing a framework for companies to create, and communicate the impact of, upcycled foods. Approved products and ingredients will be allowed to use the powerful new consumer-facing Upcycled Certified mark.

There are three certification types:

  • Ingredient: Upcycled Ingredient (UI) that consists of more than 95% upcycled uniform diverted inputs by weight.
  • Product: Product Containing Upcycled Ingredients (PUI) consisting of more than 10% certified upcycled ingredients by weight or threshold met for total tonnage diverted.
  • Minimal Content: Products with Minimal Upcycled Ingredient Content (Less than PUI) consisting of less than 10% upcycled ingredient content or total tonnage diverted.

The program invites the participation from companies that grow, produce, manufacture, process and trade in food & beverage, dietary supplements, pet food, cosmetics, personal care products, and household cleaners.

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