DENVER — The Upcycled Food Association (UFA) introduced a new certification mark to provide consumers with clear guidance about the presence of upcycled food ingredients in a range of products, including food and beverages, pet food, dietary supplements and more.
The UFA enlisted the help of Drexel University and Mattson, a food and beverage design and development firm, to gather consumer research surrounding the creation of the seal, which was crafted by branding agency Modern Species. The research showed more than 50% of consumers had increased intent to buy Upcycled Certified food when the mark was on packaging.
“The upcycled certification seal is transformative for centralizing the messaging around upcycled food,” said Caroline Cotto, president of the UFA board. “We want consumers to see the mark and immediately understand not only what upcycled food is, but more importantly, the impact upcycled food has from a climate perspective. Purchasing upcycled food puts the power back into the hands of consumers to make a tangible reduction in global food loss.”
A recent study published in the journal Food and Nutrition Sciences found just 10% of consumers are familiar with upcycled food products. Once educated about upcycled foods, however, 80% said they would seek those products.
One goal of the seal is to expand awareness about upcycled food, including what it is and why its presence in products matters for the environment and climate. With a broad consumer education campaign about the seal and food waste, the UFA is aiming to double the upcycled industry’s growth rate. Doing so could prevent more than 8.8 billion lbs of food waste and 28 billion lbs of CO2 emissions by 2030, according to the UFA.
“Food waste accounts for 6% of all human-caused greenhouse gases,” said Turner Wyatt, cofounder and chief executive officer of the UFA. “Mitigating it counts as the single-most productive thing people can do to dial-back climate change. In addition, businesses around the world lose $1 trillion a year to food waste. This seal and the certification program backing it will simultaneously help solve the food-waste problem while saving businesses money. It also nurtures the creation of new businesses revolving around upcycled foods. Everybody wins.”
The seal follows more than a year of collaboration between multiple stakeholders to develop the Upcycled Certification Standard, which offers a set of rules establishing definitions for upcycled ingredients and products, protocols for incorporating them into products and the ability for certified companies to use the new consumer-facing upcycled food seal on products.
The UFA in February launched a pilot program for its Upcycled Certification Program in partnership with Where Food Comes From, a food industry certification and verification services provider. Open enrollment to apply for certification is slated to begin in June 2021.