The concept of upcycling in food, or the conversion of unused food ingredients to new, edible food products, is rising in tandem with consumer demands for sustainability – data from Future Market Insights places the value of the global upcycling food movement is approximately worth US$46.7bn, and this is expected to grow some 5% over the next decade.
Despite this, the most significant hurdle that companies in the industry will have to cross if it ever hopes to become mainstream is that of consumer perception and the association that upcycling has with ‘food waste’.
“Consumers in APAC [are] looking towards brands to be socially and environmentally conscious, [but] the biggest challenge to the concept of upcycling is the term of 'waste' – upcycling is more about utilising all the parts of certain foods such as the coffee fruit [and not so much food waste],” I Am Grounded Co-Founder and CMO Vanessa Murillo told FoodNavigator-Asia.
“We’re part of the [newly-established just a year ago] Upcycled Food Association (UFA), which is working to overcome this challenge by working towards a certification process much like the organic label, that looks at supply chain management of upcycled ingredients to provide some more comfort to everyday consumers.
“Asia is really the perfect market for upcycled foods [as] early adopters of a lot of innovation, and [especially for coffee fruit] because a lot of coffee is produced here, including in Vietnam which is now number two in the world - so the opportunity here is incredible.”
Whole Foods recently named upcycled foods as a ‘top 10 food trend of 2021’.
I Am Grounded Co-Founder and CEO Lachlan Powell added that the potential for the industry, once such bias can be overcome, is enormous.
“The fleshy pulp of coffee fruit actually tastes much like a plum, but there are an estimated 20 billion kilos of coffee fruit waste created each year,” he said.
“[We have already] received significant interest from key countries such as Singapore, Japan, US and UK and shipped orders to over 20 countries around the world.”
The firm’s first Coffee Fruit Bar range boasts high antioxidant content, clean caffeine, and prebiotic fibre, and is available in three flavours - Lemon, Coconut and Coffee Fruit (50g caffeine), Espresso, Tahini and Coffee Fruit (85g caffeine), and Cocoa, Almond Butter and Coffee Fruit (50g caffeine).
Watch the video above to find out more.