DENVER – Food and beverage products featuring upcycled ingredients may qualify for the newly approved Upcycled Certification Standard. Slated to initially roll out in the United States in the next few months, the standard is intended to help consumers identify products that help reduce food waste.

"The Upcycled Certification Standard is an inspiring and hopeful milestone,” said Sandra Noonan, standards committee member and chief sustainability officer at Just Salad, New York. “It lays the groundwork for the 21st-century food system we so desperately need — a system that does more with less; that recognizes resource-efficient brands; and that empowers producers, businesses and consumers to solve food waste together.”

A pilot initiative administered by an independent certifying group will begin accepting applications in the coming weeks, according to the Upcycled Food Association (UFA). Companies interested in the standard may learn more by following this link.

“Fulfilling the great potential of upcycled food movement requires a continued collaborative effort and this standard is representative of the rigor necessary to answer that charge,” said Ben Gray, standards committee co-chair and chief operating officer of the UFA.

The UFA estimates there are already over 400 upcycled products in the US marketplace and Whole Foods Market, Austin, Texas, named upcycling one of its top 10 trends for 2021, noting that sustainability and an interest in reducing food waste will drive interest.

In May, the UFA took the first step toward developing a certification standard by creating a definition for upcycled foods. The definition reads, “Upcycled foods use ingredients that otherwise would not have gone to human consumption, are procured and produced using verifiable supply chains, and have a positive impact on the environment.”

The definition was created by a task force that included researchers from Harvard University, Drexel University and such non-profit groups as ReFED, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the World Wildlife Fund and was convened by the UFA.