80 billion pounds or 40% of food is wasted in America every year. Upcycling is a way the food industry is trying to combat this massive amount of waste.
So… what exactly is upcycling?
Recycling is the process of turning waste into something brand new whereas upcycled materials don’t get broken down. Instead, they’re repurposed for something other than their original function. Basically in the case of food products the process involves taking fresh (and neglected) produce that would otherwise go to waste, dehydrating them and milling them into, for example, a flour that can then be used for the basis of delicious snacks. Because upcycling usually repurposes healthy foods like carrots, these snacks pack a nutritious punch (or at least they tend to be more nutritious than your standard chips and crackers). Plus, they’re obviously good for the earth.
Check out our slideshow for some of the best sustainable, upcycled snacks you can get right now.
LesserEvil Lil Puffs
Lil Puffs is LesserEvil's new line of grain-free, rice-free, organic and vegan snacks for toddlers 12 months and older. Made from up-cycled watermelon and pumpkin seeds, Lil' Puffs feature four plant-based flavors including Veggie Blend and Sweet Potato Apple.
Seconds up-cycles carrot pulp and peels into three uniquely delicious cracker flavors: Original Crunch, Chipotle Ranch and Everything Crunch, all of which have 4-5g fiber and 4g protein per serving.
Regrained products are made with the grains created when beer is brewed! They come in a variety of flavors, have fiber, only 100 calories and are made with organic ingredients.
Kazoo Snacks are made with corn germ, a by-product of chip processing that often goes to waste. Each serving has 50% more protein than the standard tortilla chip.
Leftover corn flour from Pipcorn's Heirloom Cheese Balls is used to make their newest product, Heirloom Snack Crackers.
Spudsy up-cycles "ugly" sweet potatoes to make all of their products.
Pulp Pantry uses fresh vegetable juice pulp to make the chips in their product line.
Noons are made with up-cycled cacao fruit (which is typically discarded in the chocolate-making process), organic quinoa and fruits.
Ugly produces tried fruit from "ugly" fruit that would otherwise be discarded. There's certainly nothing ugly about the taste, look or packaging of their products.
Fancy Pants Bakery
Fancy Pants Bakery uses the nutritious pulp (okara) left over from tofu and soy milk production for their cookies.
Tia Lupita's up-cycled tortillas also use okara flour as the basis for their products.