Volume 6 | Issue 4

May 26, 2020

Upcycled Cuisine


The topic of food waste has been top-of-mind lately, as operators contend with unused inventory and consumers face empty grocery shelves. The USDA estimates that restaurants shed $162 billion annually in food waste costs, and upcycling presents a unique answer to this challenge. From financial, environmental and culinary standpoints, the benefits of upcycling are extraordinary. The mindful use of organic byproducts that would typically be discarded presents an opportunity for culinary creativity and innovation. Chefs are taking a root-to-stem approach, repurposing bruised fruit and vegetable peels. We’re seeing almond milk byproducts turned into flour; pistachio shells replacing barbecue wood chips; and pomace (grape pulp and skins) used to make grapeseed oil. Blanching water from mushrooms can create umami-rich, nutritious liquid mushroom concentrate and dried mushroom powder. Fiber-rich green banana flour derived from less-than-perfect produce, sauces made from beer brewers’ spent grains and gut-friendly whey beverages made from yogurt and cheese byproducts are just the tip of the iceberg for upcycled cuisine in 2020 and beyond.




Hungry for more?
Check out our FlavorIQ® video for additional insights behind this top trend.



Adi Menayang, “From ingredients out of by-products to Ecopouches, Scelta Mushrooms develops products out of waste-reduction efforts,” Food Navigator, July 4, 2017.

Erin McPherson, “Ingredients That Reduce Food Waste Have Never Been More Important,” FSR Magazine, April 15, 2020.

Elizabeth Crawford, “Investing in the Future of Food: ReGrained offers advice to find partners that magnify impact,” Food Navigator, August 28, 2019.

“Hero Dish, Zero Waste,” Flavor & The Menu, December 2019.

Hiba Amin, “New Study Finds Restaurant Food Waste Amounts to $2 Billion in Lost Profits,” Toast, December 12, 2018.

Mary Ellen Shoup, “Soymilk and tofu pulp byproduct could be the next ‘it’ ingredient, says Renewal Mill,” Food Navigator, August 2, 2018.

Stephen Daniells, “Upcycling: ‘We believe there is a second life for everything’, says Rise CEO,” Food Navigator, August 16, 2018.