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Not to waste: Food brands make use of expendable ingredients

FruitsHow brands are identifying new products by rethinking waste

In last month’s blog post, we talked about an ingredient that could start to be sidelined (sugar) and how an entrepreneurial spirit can help a brand stand out. This month, we’re switching it up by looking at unlikely ingredients that are finding their way to the mainstream: food waste products. Food waste is becoming an increasingly recognized issue. But not only is discarding unused food a bad consumer habit, it’s also common practice at the industry level. A few companies are challenging the status quo, turning their waste into innovative (and lucrative) new opportunities—both within and outside of their existing business models.

Follow Their Lead

Misshapen carrots and ugly apples find appreciation in Tesco’s Waste NOT cold-pressed juices. The UK grocer’s effort has taken quality produce that’s lacking in the looks department and squeezed it into an affordable juice line. Within the first 12 weeks of production, the brand says it saved around 3.5 tons of surplus/waste fruits and veggies. They also announced in May that they will remove the “best before” dates from 70 pre-packaged produce products, hoping to curb the behavior of consumers throwing out food before it actually goes bad.

ReGrain saves the grain from beer production, processing it into flour for protein- and fiber-rich snack bars. It was started by two UCLA students who were brewing their own beer (as “a loophole to the legal drinking age”) and realized that they could turn the grain waste into flour. Their homemade bread eventually became the ReGrain snack bars that are growing in distribution around the US.

The experimental Tyson Innovation Lab team developed the !Yappah! brand with a mission to “Discover forgotten ingredients and use them to craft a delicious snack.” The first product line Protein Crisps, uses either rescued carrot and celery purees or malted barley from beer brewing and combines them with chicken trimmings to form protein-packed snack crisps that it packages in a recyclable can.

Stay Fresh

In an atmosphere of food insecurity and climate change, and with a better understanding about the origins of healthy food choices, consumers don’t have an appetite for food waste. And as they turn their awareness toward their own behavior, they’re going to expect brands to clean up their act, too. Whether it’s making use of their own company’s byproducts or upcycling another’s discarded ingredients, consumers want to see brands come to the rescue of quality ingredients that are destined for the dumpster.

This can create an enormous opportunity for brands and marketers. Not only does your brand’s story get a makeover (and likely makes inroads with the discerning conscious consumer), but also new streams of revenue can be realized by launching new—and inherently innovative—product lines.

At CCF, we understand each audience segment of Conscious Consumption, and through our research we’ve learned that 90% of U.S. adults realize the importance of staying healthy. We also know these consumers are looking for value alignment with the brands they do business with. Brands that make it easy for these consumers to engage in healthy food choices by discovering new and innovative ways to introduce products will be the trailblazers (especially if they’re making it easy for consumers to do good at the same time!). To learn more, please reach out or check out our most recent THINK reports.

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