• Upcycled Food author and Churchill Fellow, Francesca Goodman-Smith, is the Transform program leader at End Food Waste Australia (EFWA). (Source: End Food Waste Australia)
    Upcycled Food author and Churchill Fellow, Francesca Goodman-Smith, is the Transform program leader at End Food Waste Australia (EFWA). (Source: End Food Waste Australia)
  • NutriV is an example of upcycling. (Source: NutriV)
    NutriV is an example of upcycling. (Source: NutriV)
  • I am Grounded is an example of upcycled food. (Source: I am Grounded)
    I am Grounded is an example of upcycled food. (Source: I am Grounded)
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A new report on how discarded food can be transformed into new products, Upcycled Food, provides seven recommendations for Australia to accelerate the industry. Author and Churchill Fellow, Francesca Goodman-Smith, is the Transform program leader at End Food Waste Australia (EFWA).

Goodman-Smith’s research explored the innovative practice of transforming discarded food into new products. Supported by the Peter Mitchell Churchill Fellowship, she took an eight-week tour of the US, UK, Netherlands, Portugal, and France, met with 14 companies, 11 research and support organisations, and three policy entities. She also took part in the 2023 ReFED Food Waste Solutions Summit, which provided valuable insights and strategic recommendations for sector growth.

Upcycling food has been gaining traction within the food supply chain for years. Before 2019, brands struggled to communicate their efforts in turning waste into viable products. Today, the movement is seen as essential to achieving United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 12.3, which aims to halve global food waste by 2030.

Key findings include insights from leading upcycled food companies, the potential for an upcycled food certification in Australia, the importance of research and innovation, and policy recommendations to support the sector’s development. Upcycling, which repurposes food waste into new products, offers significant benefits for businesses, the environment, and society. However, transforming Australia’s 7.6 million tonnes of annual food waste remains challenging.

Australian examples of upcycled foods, such as Vegemite made from spent brewer’s yeast, and newer products like Rescue Pops by Montague Fresh, I am Grounded coffee fruit bars, and NutriV vegetable snacks, demonstrate the sector’s potential. The global upcycled food market is projected to reach US$97 billion by 2031, reflecting growing consumer demand for sustainable choices. Awareness of upcycled foods is rising, with surveys showing up to 85 per cent awareness among consumers.

The report outlines seven key recommendations for Australia:

  1. Adopt a food waste hierarchy including upcycling.
  2. Form an upcycling community/network.
  3. Establish shared terminology for upcycling.
  4. Identify upcycling opportunities throughout the food supply chain.
  5. Foster partnerships between large food companies and upcycled food companies.
  6. Educate consumers about upcycling and its environmental impact.
  7. Implement an upcycled food certification.

Goodman-Smith's report marks a significant step in Australia's journey toward a sustainable food system. Its release sets the stage for industry collaboration and innovation in food waste reduction ahead of this year's National Food Waste Summit in Melbourne on July 24 and 25.

This summit is crucial for industry executives, managers, and change drivers committed to advancing sustainability in the food and beverage manufacturing sector.

For more information about the National Food Waste Summit, click here.

To register, click here – and use the special Food & Drink Business reader discount code 75NFWS for $75 off your ticket.

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