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There’s a new food trend that’s good for you and good for the planet! Upcycled foods, which are made from ingredients that are usually thrown out are having their moment. Banana peel bacon is one such trend.

Bertha Jimenez spoke to CBS News about using a brewery’s discards for her baking. Malt barley, or spent grain, from Keg & Lantern Brewing Company was going to waste, but now Jimenez is using it in baked goods.

Jimenez is using the grain as part of a new venture called Rise, a company collecting otherwise tossed scraps made during food production to make flour. “That’s 12 times the fiber, two times the proteins, and one-third of the carbs. It’s like really, really delicious. And it’s also sustainable,” she said of the spent grain.

Source: PBS NewsHour/YouTube 

Jimenez is one of many that see the trend growing. After starting Rise in 2017, the flour has caught on and the company is now consulting on how food companies can be using “waste.”

Turner Wyatt created the upcycled Food Association in 2019 and sees a growing trend. For him, upcycled food is a “way of taking otherwise wasted food, and creating something new and nutritious out of it to prevent food waste.”

Source: NYU Tandon School of Engineering/YouTube

“There’s already more than 400 upcycled products on the market, but consumers don’t know which ones they are. Because there’s no label, there’s no way to identify which are the upcycled products,” Wyatt said.

The opportunity to keep food that is traditionally thrown out or tossed in a landfill is significant. Jimenez and others are working to break the stigma of what is considered food and what is considered waste.

“All of these things, it’s been declared a waste because the way we treat it. But if we just changed the supply of how we take it, how we transport it, how we store it, it shouldn’t be a waste. It should be an ingredient. It should be food. It should be whatever you want to make with them, but it shouldn’t go to the landfill,” Jimenez said.

Read more about upcycled food and food waste in One Green Planet, check out these articles:

Learn How to Cook Plant-Based Meals at Home!

Reducing your meat intake and eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammationheart healthmental wellbeingfitness goalsnutritional needsallergiesgut health, and more! Dairy consumption also has been linked to many health problems, including acnehormonal imbalancecancerprostate cancer and has many side effects.

For those of you interested in eating more plant-based, we highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest plant-based recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet.

Here are some great resources to get you started:

Easy Ways to Help the Planet:

  • Eat Less Meat: Download Food Monster, the largest plant-based Recipe app on the App Store to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy. You can also buy a hard or soft copy of our favorite vegan cookbooks.
  • Reduce Your Fast Fashion Footprint: Take initiative by standing up against fast fashion Pollution and supporting sustainable and circular brands like Tiny Rescue that are raising awareness around important issues through recycled zero-waste clothing designed to be returned and remade over and over again.
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