Staying ahead of the technology curve means strengthening your competitive advantage. That is why we give you data-driven innovation insights into the food industry. This time, you get to discover 5 hand-picked food upcycling solutions.
Global Startup Heat Map highlights 5 Top Food Upcycling Solutions out of 239
The insights of this data-driven analysis are derived from the Big Data & Artificial Intelligence-powered StartUs Insights Discovery Platform, covering 2.093.000+ startups & scaleups globally. The platform gives you an exhaustive overview of emerging technologies & relevant startups within a specific field in just a few clicks.
The Global Startup Heat Map below reveals the distribution of the 239 exemplary startups & scaleups we analyzed for this research. Further, it highlights 5 food tech startups that we hand-picked based on criteria such as founding year, location, funding raised, and more. You get to explore the solutions of these 5 startups & scaleups in this report. For insights on the other 234 food upcycling solutions, get in touch.
Wasatch Resource Recovery produces Biomethane
Food waste from food processors, supermarkets, catering, and households, if left untreated, degrades the environment through greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as well as water and soil pollution. However, this waste can be utilized to produce energy locally instead of ending up in landfills. To address this opportunity, startups are developing technologies that utilize anaerobic digestion, composting, or gasification to treat food waste and generate renewable energy from it.
US-based startup Wasatch Resource Recovery produces biomethane from food waste. The process involves grinding the waste followed by liquefaction. Then, the organic material is fed into the anaerobic digester, which is heated to aid the growth of microbes. These microbes break down the organic matter resulting in biogas production. Next, the startup captures the biogas and purifies it before converting it into biomethane. This gas is fed into nearby gas pipelines and sold as renewable power. Finally, the remnant is a carbon-based fertilizer used to grow crops.
TripleW upcycles Food Waste into Bioplastics
Food waste and plastic pollution are two of the major environmental concerns globally. While some startups are reducing food waste by upcycling it into valuable products, others are developing bioplastics or plastics obtained from biomass. However, with the advancement of technology, startups can address both issues at once by upcycling food waste to biochemicals, which are essential for creating bioplastics.
TripleW is an Israeli startup that upcycles food waste into bioplastics. By deploying waste hydrolysis and microorganism engineering, the startup utilizes food waste as a third-generation renewable feedstock for the production of polymer grade lactic acid, a building block of polylactic acid (PLA) bioplastic. TripleW also enables the chemical recycling of PLA back into its patented process, further reducing waste and establishing a closed-loop. Additionally, utilizing the startup’s technology, anaerobic digestion facilities can retrofit and upgrade to produce bio-based lactic acid. Thus, waste management facilities are able to gain an additional revenue source.
Rens Original uses Coffee Waste to make Shoes
The world trades around 10 billion kilograms of coffee every year. Coffee grounds, however, have a negative effect on the environment because they generate methane upon decomposition. To put this in perspective, the worldwide emissions of coffee waste are equivalent to the yearly emissions of 10 million cars. To tackle this issue, startups are upcycling coffee waste into valuable products, for example, clothing and accessories.
Finnish startup Rens Original uses coffee waste to make sustainable sneakers. The startup processes coffee grounds and mixes them with recycled plastic pellets to create a polymer thread. The fiber contains tiny micro-pockets that trap unpleasant odors. The antibacterial material naturally creates a hostile environment for bacteria that otherwise produce odors in shoes. Besides that, the coffee yarn dries much faster than traditional athletic apparel, keeping the shoes dry.
Outcast Foods creates Nutritional Supplements from Food Waste
A lot of fresh produce is rejected due to a number of reasons, including its quality, size, or visual appeal. This leads to surplus fruits and vegetables that often end up as waste. Apart from that, groceries and retailers also face the same situation where they are left with unsold or expired food. To address this problem, startups are working with food producers and retailers by taking their excess or expired food items and upcycling them into ingredients for a variety of new food items.
Outcast Foods is a Canadian startup that produces nutritional supplements from food waste. It collects the rejected, irregular, or surplus fruits and vegetables from local farmers, grocers, and food manufacturers. Then, it upcycles them into dried whole foods and powders. These are used in a variety of products from pet foods to protein powders and dietary supplements. Besides, the startup’s packaging is also recyclable, thus further driving circularity.
Renewal Mill provides Upcycled Cooking Ingredients
While plant-based dairy alternatives are more sustainable than animal-based dairy products, the production process is not entirely free of waste. For instance, during the production of oat milk, oat pulp is discarded. To utilize this waste, food tech startups make various sustainable cooking ingredients out of this byproduct. Thus upcycling reduces food waste and offers consumers the choice of responsible purchases.
US-based startup Renewal Mill develops food ingredients by upcycling byproducts of plant-based milk production. The byproducts include soybean pulp, oat pulp, and almond pulp, among others. The startup dries and mills these pulps without using synthetic processing techniques or unnatural fortification. The result of the production are ingredients for cooking and baking that are rich in macronutrients such as fiber and protein. The startup’s product range includes organic okara flour, gluten-free baking powder, oat chocolate chip cookie mix, and dark chocolate brownie mix.
Discover more FoodTech Startups
Food startups such as the examples highlighted in this report focus on Alternative Proteins, Robotics, Food Waste Reduction as well as increasing Supply Chain Transparency. While all of these technologies play a major role in advancing the food industry, they only represent the tip of the iceberg. To explore more food technologies, simply get in touch to let us look into your areas of interest. For a more general overview, you can download our free FoodTech Innovation Report to save your time and improve strategic decision-making.