8 Food Brands that Help Solve the Global Food Waste Problem

May 14, 2023

Did you know that one-third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally each year? Shockingly, this amount of food waste would easily feed two billion people. Talk about an easy solution to world hunger. 

Dubbed “the world’s dumbest environmental problem,” the issue of food waste seems to have a simple solution. Give the excess food to people who need it. Logistically, it’s not so simple. Most of the food waste produced has a short shelf-life, as it usually comes from our own kitchens and cabinets at home or unsold food from restaurants, supermarkets, and catering events. Reallocating the food in an effective manner to prevent spoilage to people in need requires innovative solutions. Platforms like Copia use real-time technology to connect businesses with surplus food to those who need it immediately. Copia picks up the food from the donors and delivers it to a local nonprofit recipient, all while helping businesses make smarter decisions about their buying decisions to limit food waste.

Reducing food waste would not only help communities all around the world, but it would also help cut down greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It is estimated that about 6% of global GHG emissions come from food waste. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations found interesting data by comparing the environmental impact of different food categories that have gone to waste. Although less than 5% of the total food waste was meat, it contributed over 20% of the total carbon footprint. Meat production is notorious for its hefty carbon footprint, due to the agricultural impacts of feeding livestock, processing manure, and methane emissions. Other food groups like cereals and vegetables also significantly contribute to greenhouse gas emissions by going to waste.

Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

A consumer-facing solution to food waste is the use of upcycled foods. According to the Upcycled Food Association, “upcycled foods use ingredients 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.” Essentially, upcycling food involves creating value with existing ingredients that could have ended up in landfills. Check out these snack and pet food brands that creatively upcycle ingredients to create new, delicious products (see more in directory).

1. The Ugly Company

Instagram | @packofugly
Based in | United States
Shipping | United States

Ugly transforms cosmetically “ugly” fruit into healthy dried fruit snacks. Ugly products are 100% natural, with no GMO's, artificial flavoring or additives. 

Photo by The Ugly Company

2. Upcycled Grain Project

Instagram | @upcycledgrainproject
Based in | United States
Shipping | United States

This company uses leftover grains from the beer-brewing process and upcycles them into tasty and nutritious crackers.

Photo by Upcycled Grain Project

3. Shameless Pets

Instagram | @shamelesspets
Based in | United States
Shipping | United States

Delicious, sustainable dog and cat treats that are good for the pets and good for the planet.

Photo by Shameless Pets

4. Imperfect Foods

Instagram | @imperfectfoods 
Based in | United States
Shipping | Select regions in the United States

Imperfect Foods is a delivery service of high-quality, affordable groceries including sweet, salty, upcycled, and rescued snacks. 

Photo by Imperfect Foods

5. Blue Stripes

Instagram | @bluestripescacao
Based in | United States
Shipping | United States

Traditionally, the chocolate industry wastes 70% of the cacao plant. Blue Stripes makes unique products like cacao water by upcycling the whole cacao fruit (shell, fruit & beans) to maximize its superfood benefits.

Photo by Blue Stripes

6. Spudsy

Instagram | @spudsyfoods 
Based in | United States
Shipping | United States

Spudsy upcycles imperfect potatoes to create the sweet potato flour which serves as a primary ingredient in the production of their sweet potato puffs and fries.

Photo by Spudsy

7. Regrained

Instagram | @regrained 
Based in | United States
Shipping | United States

Regrained makes use of leftover spent grain from brewing beer that is upcycled into a low-carb and versatile flour called SuperGrain+®, which boasts 3.5x the fiber and 2x the protein of whole wheat flour. 

Photo by Regrained

8. Wize Tea

Instagram | @drinkwize
Based in | Canada
Shipping | Worldwide

Wize Tea makes iced tea and dry teas made from the leaves of arabica coffee plants. The leaves are harvested during the off-season, and thus don’t interfere with coffee bean harvest, nor does this process affect the coffee beans or the plant.

Photo by Wize Tea

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