DENVER – The market for upcycled food and beverages is coming into greater focus as the Upcycled Food Association (UFA) works to create a certification seal for products and ingredients to carry. The group has convened a committee of experts in sustainability, agriculture, food systems, nutrition, food purchasing and retail to create the standards.

“Having a seal that acknowledges food waste diversion is important to incentivize manufacturers to look at novel approaches to ingredient sourcing,” said Jackie Bowen, committee co-chair and executive director of the Clean Label Project. “It’s also a win for consumers wanting to support these efforts and the planet.”

The UFA released its definition for upcycled food in May and said establishing certification standards was the next step in the process of bringing greater clarity to the market.

“We see this certification first and foremost as a way to educate consumers about the benefits of upcycled food; an innovative food category that emphasizes using all resources put into growing food to actually feed people and provides consumers the opportunity to steward positive environmental change,” said Ben Gray, committee co-chair and chief operating officer of the UFA.

The committee is expected to complete its work in time for products on the market to carry the certification seal during the first half of 2021.

“The upcycled food certification streamlines a path for companies to mobilize action behind their sustainable development goals while educating consumers and reinforcing a new way of viewing our food system,” said Maddison Gurrola, a food technologist with Mattson, Foster City, Calif., a consultancy focused on innovation and new product development

The UFA estimates there are more than 400 upcycled products in the US marketplace and in 2020, the market researcher Future Market Insights published a report estimating the value of the upcycled food industry to be more than $46 billion, with a predicted 5% compound annual growth rate.