Upcycled Food Movement Gaining Strong Momentum

DENVER, CO – Roughly 30 to 40 percent of food produced is wasted and that’s a big problem for society and the planet due to unnecessary resource use, failure to feed hungry people, and harmful greenhouse gases emitted as unused food rots in landfill. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Office, food waste is responsible for nearly 8 percent of global emissions, making it the single greatest way to solve climate change.

Upcycling food helps minimize this problem by creating new, high-quality products from otherwise wasted – but perfectly nutritious – ingredients.  According to the Upcycled Food Association (UFA), 60% of people want to buy more upcycled food products, and 95% of this group want to do their part to reduce food waste. However, many Americans don’t understand the concept of an upcycled food. To educate them, the UFA is holding a free official Climate Week NYC 2020 virtual event on Tuesday, September 22, at 11:00 a.m. Eastern: Positive Climate Action Through Upcycled Foods: What Are They, How Do They Help, and Where Can I Get Some?

The event will be moderated by Turner Wyatt, CEO of the Upcycled Food Association. Wyatt will moderate a discussion with Emily M. Broad Leib, Clinical Professor of Law, Founding Director, Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic, Caue Suplicy, Founder and Chairman, Barnana, a banana-based snacks company and founding member of the UFA, and Caitlin Leibert, Director of Sustainability, Chipotle Mexican Grill.

“The upcycled food movement is gaining traction and we need to let consumers know about the tremendous climate cooling potential of turning former food waste into value-added products,” said Wyatt. “The UFA has 100 business members and new organizations are joining daily. Now it’s time for consumers to support these planet-champions. It’s a positive action people can take at a time when many are feeling anxious about the future.”

In April, 2020, the UFA released its landmark “Defining Upcycled Foods: A Definition for Use Across Industry, Government, and Academia” report that was developed working with a broad coalition of task force members from government agencies, industry organizations, the nonprofit sector and universities. The report is the first concerted attempt to provide context and specific examples to further flesh-out key elements of an upcycled food. The UFA’s next goal is to launch an upcycled food certification program in October 2020.

Climate Week 2020 UFA event panelist and definition report task force member Emily M. Broad Leib explains, “Task force members are committed to helping consumers understand upcycled foods and to providing a framework of requirements to help standardize the industry and avoid greenwashing.” Broad Leib will discuss the five agreed-upon voluntary standards for items to officially be considered an upcycled food while emphasizing their climate-beneficial power.

The virtual event includes top executives from two eco-conscious consumer brands leading the upcycling movement from different points in the supply chain, Barnana and Chipotle Mexican Grill. “Our exploding and deeply passionate fan base is making Barnana one of the fastest growing natural snack brands in the U.S.,” said Caue Suplicy, Founder of Barnana. “Since we launched in 2012, we’ve upcycled over 100 million bananas into healthier, delicious, sweet snacks like Banana Bites and Cookie Brittle, upcycling bananas that were just short of the ideal length or a day shy of retail-demanded ripeness from becoming landfill that emits harmful greenhouse gases.” Director of Sustainability for Chipotle Mexican Grill, Caitlin Leibert, will discuss how the company is upcycling avocado pit waste into natural dyes that are used in a broad clothing collection as part of its commitment to circular resource systems.

Anyone interested in joining the Climate Week 2020 virtual event can register, free, here.

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About The Upcycled Food Association

The Upcycled Food Association launched in January 2020 and has quickly grown to include a network of more than 100 mission driven businesses and nonprofits across three continents. The UFA envisions a food system built by conscious consumers and innovative business, where all food reaches its highest and best use. Its mission is to reduce food waste, the most effective solution of all to climate change. A nonprofit trade association, the UFA exists to support the upcycled food brands that make the world a better place.

About The Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic

The Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic (FLPC) serves partner organizations and communities by providing guidance on cutting-edge food system issues, while engaging law students in the practice of food law and policy. FLPC’s work focuses on increasing access to healthy foods, supporting sustainable production and regional food systems, promoting community-led food system change, and reducing waste of healthy, wholesome food. FLPC is committed to advancing a cross-sector, multi-disciplinary and inclusive approach to its work, building partnerships with academic institutions, government agencies, private sector actors, and civil society with expertise in public health, the environment, and the economy. For more information, visit www.chlpi.org/flpc/.

About Barnana

Barnana’s mission is to provide innovative, healthier, delicious, banana-based snacks while minimizing its impact on the environment. Barnana is a certified B-Corporation, focused on expanding its partnerships with farmers and indigenous communities in the Amazon. Since its inception, Barnana has upcycled 100 million bananas and the brand is a founding member of the Upcycled Food Association. Its products – Banana Bites, Cookie Brittle, Plantain Chips and the new Plantain Tortilla Chips — can be found at Whole Foods, Costco, CVS, Kroger, Safeway and other fine grocers(barnana.com)

About Chipotle Mexican Grill

Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE: CMG) is cultivating a better world by serving responsibly sourced, classically-cooked, real food with wholesome ingredients without artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. Chipotle had over 2,650 restaurants as of June 30, 2020, in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France and Germany and is the only restaurant company of its size that owns and operates all its restaurants. With more than 91,000 employees passionate about providing a great guest experience, Chipotle is a longtime leader and innovator in the food industry. Chipotle is committed to making its food more accessible to everyone while continuing to be a brand with a demonstrated purpose as it leads the way in digital, technology and sustainable business practices. Steve Ells, founder and former executive chairman, first opened Chipotle with a single restaurant in Denver, Colorado in 1993. For more information or to place an order online, visit www.chipotle.com.