Roughly 30 to 40 percent of food produced is wasted and that’s a big problem for society and the planet due to unnecessary resource use, failure to feed hungry people, and harmful greenhouse gases emitted as unused food rots in landfill. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Office, food waste is responsible for nearly 8 percent of global emissions, making it the single greatest way to solve climate change.
Upcycling food helps minimize this problem by creating new, high-quality products from otherwise wasted – but perfectly nutritious – ingredients. According to the Upcycled Food Association (UFA), 60% of people want to buy more upcycled food products, and 95% of this group want to do their part to reduce food waste. However, many Americans don’t understand the concept of an upcycled food. To educate them, the UFA is holding a free official Climate Week NYC 2020 virtual event on Tuesday, September 22, at 11:00 a.m. Eastern: Positive Climate Action Through Upcycled Foods: What Are They, How Do They Help, and Where Can I Get Some.
The event will be moderated by Turner Wyatt, CEO of the Upcycled Food Association. Wyatt will moderate a discussion with Emily M. Broad Leib, Clinical Professor of Law, Founding Director, Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic, Caue Suplicy, Founder and Chairman, Barnana, a banana-based snacks company and founding member of the UFA, and Caitlin Leibert, Director of Sustainability, Chipotle Mexican Grill.
“The upcycled food movement is gaining traction and we need to let consumers know about the tremendous climate cooling potential of turning former food waste into value-added products,” said Wyatt. “The UFA has 100 business members and new organizations are joining daily. Now it’s time for consumers to support these planet-champions. It’s a positive action people can take at a time when many are feeling anxious about the future.”
The virtual event includes top executives from two eco-conscious consumer brands leading the upcycling movement from different points in the supply chain, Barnana and Chipotle Mexican Grill. “Our exploding and deeply passionate fan base is making Barnana one of the fastest growing natural snack brands in the U.S.,” said Caue Suplicy, Founder of Barnana.
“Since we launched in 2012, we’ve upcycled over 100 million bananas into healthier, delicious, sweet snacks like Banana Bites and Cookie Brittle, upcycling bananas that were just short of the ideal length or a day shy of retail-demanded ripeness from becoming landfill that emits harmful greenhouse gases.” Director of Sustainability for Chipotle Mexican Grill, Caitlin Leibert, will discuss how the company is upcycling avocado pit waste into natural dyes that are used in a broad clothing collection as part of its commitment to circular resource systems.
Anyone interested in joining the Climate Week 2020 virtual event can register, free, here.