Ecovia Intelligence Predicts Surge in Upcycled Products for 2022

Apple and orange chips cooked in a dehydrator, close-up. The theme of healthy eating

London, England—Upcycled food products are expected to take off in 2022, according to Ecovia Intelligence.

The group is predicting a surge in consumer demand as awareness rises, products become more visible, and the industry receives investments.

New product launches and standards are already making upcycled foods more visible: ReGrained, Take Two Foods, Imperfect Foods, CometBio, and Pulp Pantry are all carrying the new certification for upcycled foods from the Upcycled Food Association. MOM’s Organic Market, as of September, has a dedicated section in its stores for upcycled foods.

While products were originally being launched by small operators, the past 18 months have seen investment from companies such as Barry Callebaut, Dole, Mondelez Foods, Del Monte, and Target. Barry Callebaut, for instance, launched Cabosse Naturals, an ingredient range made by upcycling cacao fruit which would otherwise be discarded. Dole is re-purposing 80% of unwanted fruit in Thailand to make snacks and packaging; has partnered with start-up Ananas Anam in the Philippines to convert pineapple leaves into Piñatex, a vegan leather; and has partnered with the Singaporean government to set up Dole Specialty Ingredients, intended to create high-value products from waste streams.

Ecovia Intelligence provided further examples of the global move towards upcycling. The Australian company Seeweedery is making cooking oil from prawn shells and seaweed-based vinegar. Also in Australia, I Am Grounded snack bars are made from upcycled coffee fruit. In New Zealand, the start-up Lilo desserts is using unwanted fruits in its range of plant-based cheesecakes. The Japanese company Keishindo Yuji Mitsuda recently launched sustainable shrimp crackers, made from shrimp heads and udon noodle scraps. In South Korea, RE:Harvest has developed a flour alternative from beer and sikhye byproducts. The Californian company Barnana is sourcing unwanted bananas and plantains from over 1,500 organic farmers in Ecuador to make snacks. Arla Foods is upcycling papaya waste from Ethiopian producers to produce nutrition bars.

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Meanwhile, the financial community is also getting involved: Rind Foods, which makes dried fruit snacks with their peels, received a  USD 6.1m investment in June; the Danish start-up Kaffe Bueno received USD 1.2m seed funding just over a year ago, money which will be used to increase production of upcycled flour from spent coffee grounds.

The Upcycled Food Association, Pulp Pantry, Take Two Foods, Re-Grained, Danone NA, and more will share upcycling experiences at the Sustainable Foods Summit, to be hosted virtually January 24-27.