Publishing its first-ever draft certification standard, the Upcycled Food Association (UFA) is also in the process of developing a food label for certified products.
Created in 2019 by a group of upcycled food companies, the not-for-profit is on a mission to transform the food system so that all food is elevated to its highest and best use.
“The Standards Committee has worked diligently to develop a Standard that helps showcase the impact of the upcycled food industry, increase the visibility and demand for upcycled products, and allow more consumers to participate in this innovative approach to tackling climate change,” said UFA’s COO and co-chair of the Certification Standards Committee, Ben Gray.
What is upcycled food?
According to the UFA, upcycled food use ingredient that otherwise would not have gone to human consumption, are procured, and produced using verifiable supply chains, and have a positive impact on the environment.
Food waste is an important part of the solution to climate change with a significant eight percent of human-caused greenhouse gas emission coming from food loss and waste. Upcycling food can also make sense from a financial standpoint, as they are value-added products.
Upcycled food captures the value from food waste and loss and contributes to the creation of a more sustainable and resilient food system and according to the UFA, there is consumer demand for such products.
Whether it be The Coffee Cherry Co upcycling discarded coffee cherry pulp into an ingredient for bakery, beverage and confectionery applications, Planetarians producing plant-based protein flour from upcycled defatted sunflower seeds, or closer to home with Kiwi brand Citizen Beer made from bread waste, innovation in upcycled food has come a long way in recent years.
A first-ever certification standard
A yet-to-be-finished logo - the UFA Upcycled Certification mark, aims to create a common identity for the upcycling movement. By carrying the logo products will communicate to consumers a consistent message regarding the value of the product category.
Two distinct designations are outlined in the draft of the new standard, the first covers certified upcycled ingredient (UI) and the second covers products containing upcycled ingredients (PUI). For UI to be eligible for certification, they must contain a minimum of 95 percent uniform diverted inputs by weight. For PUI, the minimum content of upcycled ingredients by weight is ten percent.
“The long-term vision of the UFA Upcycled Certification Standard is to guide the food system towards increased economic and environmental sustainability through food waste diversion,” noted the UFA.
To begin with, only good for sale within the US products will be eligible for certification, however, the UFA will be looking to roll out certification internationally as soon as possible.