Startups Making Products From Food Waste

Washington Post writer Caitlin Dewey reported this week that, “Flour milled from discarded coffee fruit. Chips made from juice pulp. Vodka distilled from strawberries that nobody seems to want.

“At one point not so long ago, such waste-based products were novelties for the Whole Foods set. But in the past three years, there’s been an explosion in the number of start-ups making products from food waste, according to a new industry census by the nonprofit coalition ReFED.

“The report, which was released Tuesday and tracks a number of trends across the food-waste diversion industry, found that only 11 such companies existed in 2011. By 2013, that number had doubled, and ReFED now logs 64 established companies selling ugly-fruit jam, stale-bread beer, and other ‘upcycled’ food products.”

The Post article noted that, “The companies have diverted thousands of pounds of food waste from landfills, a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. They’ve also become a model for larger, multinational food companies, which are starting to realize that upcycling peels and piths can be good business.”

Ms. Dewey added that, “Dan Kurzrock, the 27-year-old co-founder of San Francisco start-up ReGrained, suspected that from the beginning. As a college home-brewer, making beer in his garage, Kurzrock noticed that a whole lot of nutritionally valuable ‘spent grain,’ mostly barley, gets thrown out.

“Kurzrock and his business partner, Jordan Schwartz, spent the next five years testing possible uses for it. In 2016, they formally launched a line of snack bars made from almonds, oats, quinoa and grains sourced from urban brewers.

“‘We’re a food business with an environmental and social mission,’ Kurzrock said.”

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