New & NowFood BizSustainability

These Delicious Treats Fight Food Waste

2 Save

If you like it, save it!

Save and organize all of the stuff you love in one place.

Got it!

If you like something…

Click the heart, it's called favoriting. Favorite the stuff you like.

Got it!

In an age of ever-expanding, boundary-pushing innovations in food, reliable information is more vital than ever. Keeping in mind the timeless wisdom of previous generations, we're exploring the exciting work by research scientists and entrepreneurs in the field, and have partnered with Organic Valley to bring you stories from the front lines of the food system.

Kaitlin Mogentale’s lightbulb moment arrived her senior year of college, via a glass of juice. After watching her friend juice carrots at home, she noticed the significant amount of sunset-colored pulp left behind in the juicing machine. Her friend was about to scrape it into the garbage, but Mogentale asked if she could take it home instead. Later that day, she baked cookies using the flavorful and nutrient-dense carrot pulp, and realized she had hit upon a delicious opportunity.

Advertisement
Flour that used to be coffee and will someday be cookies? We like the sound of that.
Flour that used to be coffee and will someday be cookies? We like the sound of that. Photo by Julia Gartland

Today, her company, Pulp Pantry, creates crisps, granola, and other snack products using organic fruit and vegetable pulp reclaimed from commercial juice shops. “When you go to a juicery, you usually just see the liquid or the chamber, but you don’t see the pulp that’s created,” she said in an interview with Annenberg Media. Today, her company stops some of that organic matter from ending up in the landfill, while providing customers with a tasty value-added product.

DIY Nut Milk Fans: Don't Toss Out the Pulp!

DIY Nut Milk Fans: Don't Toss Out the Pulp! by Alexandra Shytsman

+
125 Recipes to Help Fight Food Waste

125 Recipes to Help Fight Food Waste by Lindsay-Jean Hard

+

Pulp Pantry is part of a growing group of food companies that have embraced “upcycling”: the act of transforming materials that would otherwise be discarded as “food waste” into new, high-quality products. At ReGrained, for example, Jordan Schwartz and Dan Kurzrock harvest spent grains from local beer breweries to create a line of energy bars. Brewers’ grains have high amounts of protein and fiber, making them an ideal base for the bars. The grains are also flavorful, lending a nuttiness to ReGrained’s coffee chocolate stout and honey cinnamon IPA bars. Meanwhile, the folks at CoffeeFlour turn coffee berries (a byproduct from the coffee bean roasting process) into an iron-, fiber-, and protein-rich flour. The dusky brown, powdery flour has a light floral flavor that works well in baked goods and is naturally gluten-free.

What's In Store For Our Food Systems (And the Smart Crops That Matter)
+
What's In Store For Our Food Systems (And the Smart Crops That Matter)

Pulp Pantry, ReGrained, and CoffeeFlour all focus on reusing byproducts from the drink industry, but upcycling has been embraced across the food spectrum. There are companies that turn the whey strained off of yogurt into drinkable tonics, make brittle from overripe bananas, and fashion fishcakes out of “under-appreciated fish.” Each of these products helps reduce the staggering 38 billion pounds of food Americans waste each year. They also support the small business economy, and in some cases small farmers, and help create a stronger and more sustainable and diverse food system.

Advertisement
Innovative Ways Companies Are Repurposing Food Waste
+
Innovative Ways Companies Are Repurposing Food Waste

Upcycling is not without its challenges. The industry-to-landfill pipeline is well established in America—a path of least resistance that has become almost automatic. Convincing a company to divert their byproduct stream to another company can be difficult, even when it financially benefits that company to do so. Meanwhile, for some consumers, there is a learning and acceptance curve associated with upcycled food products. “While consumers do catch on quickly once they try coffee flour and understand what it is and how to use it, it definitely requires a certain amount of education,” said CoffeeFlour’s Marketing VP, Carole Widmeyer.

Upcycling companies, not surprisingly, have found innovative ways to tackle these challenges. CoffeeFlour partners with Alvarado Street Bakery to make sprouted wheat and coffee flour breads that help introduce consumers to the flour in an easy-to-access way. Their flour is also widely used within the cafes on Google’s California campus.

What Anthony Bourdain's New Documentary Taught Us About Food Waste

What Anthony Bourdain's New Documentary Taught Us About F... by Valerio Farris

+
Just How Big is the Food Waste Problem?

Just How Big is the Food Waste Problem? by Embry Roberts

+

When it comes to growth and the future, upcycling-focused food companies naturally want to make a profit. “We would love to see demand for coffee flour match that of cocoa powder in terms of volume,” Widmeyer said. But their overarching goals tend to be altruistic and sustainability-minded as well. In addition to being good for the financial bottom line, Widmeyer said, “[That kind of demand] would result in optimal environmental benefits.” Or as Mongentale put it, “I would have never stumbled upon this opportunity if it weren’t for my background in environmental studies.” Luckily for consumers, she did.

Looking to do some "upcycling" of your own?

Ingredients like sour milk often appear in the fridge, and usually get dumped down the drain. Next time you find yourself with some sour milk, try making one of these cakes!

Chocolate Bundt Cake

Chocolate Bundt Cake by Kelsey Banfield

Banana Cake with Penuche Frosting

Banana Cake with Penuche Frosting by Lindsay-Jean Hard

In an age of ever-expanding, boundary-pushing innovations in food, reliable information is more vital than ever. Keeping in mind the timeless wisdom of previous generations, we're exploring the exciting work by research scientists and entrepreneurs in the field, and have partnered with Organic Valley to bring you stories from the front lines of the food system.

Tags: upcycling, food waste