What is upcycled food and why should you care?

Mar 16, 2022

While not a brand new concept, upcycling food is being better-defined and called out as a solution to the 30%-40% of food that goes to waste each year. Dan Kurzrock of Regrained and the Upcycled Food Association, shares his journey and vision for reducing food loss. Mason & Jess also tease their brand new project that incorporates upcycled food!

Show Notes:

Check out the Upcycled Food Association – https://www.upcycledfood.org/

Also check out Refed – https://refed.org/

And Regrained, Dan’s project to upcycled spent brewers grains – https://www.regrained.com/

Pretty ok (not great) transcript:

[00:00:00] Mason: So as we’ve been digging into sustainability, there’s been one thing that has really stuck in my head. It was a quote from our friend, Jeff pain of break it down composing. He said that of all the things we can do to help the plant. Diverting waste and food waste in particular and finding uses for it is the one that seems impossible to ever turn out wrong.

There’s a lot of things where you question, whether we’re actually doing the right thing or not, but diverting food waste seems like solid gold. We have one of the absolute pioneers of this activity. Dan Kurzrock co-founder of ReGrained and the upcycled food association. Let’s start with a word upcycled.

How old even is that?

[00:00:37] Dan Kurzrock: Yeah, Mason, great to end. Good to great to be here. Thanks for having me. Um, yeah, this term, this term upcycled is a sort of a trendy new name for a pretty old idea, which is, Hey, let’s, uh, let’s make the most of what we have, what we have, um, your point earlier, uh, I’m in favor of food waste said nobody ever, right?

It doesn’t matter which way you lean on any issue, you know, including climate action. Like no one is in favor of food. One of the world’s dumbest problems. And one of the seemingly seems like it should be one of the easiest to tackle upcycling is one of the tools that we’ve, uh, we’ve developed to play a role and addressing the food waste crisis.

And the term itself actually goes back a bit. The first time I was introduced to it was through bill McDonough and he’s a sustainability writer. Um, and she wrote a book called the upcycle also wrote cradle to cradle, right? So it’s this idea of, you know, bringing like closed loop thinking.

But you know, upcycling is as opposed to recycling where you’re creating. Something back into itself. Uh, upcycling is all about finding highest value and it was first applied to my knowledge, at least to, uh, like durable goods, you know, things like building materials, um, you know, for example, taking plastic water bottles and, you know, filling them with like cement and using them as a foundation for a house or T-shirts that are made from old, you know, water bottles or like, you know, fleece, for example, like Patagonia’s got a fleece that’s made from, uh, from upcycled water bottles was this idea of like taking something and basically arresting the like down cycle that was gonna happen.

Um, and, you know, producing something of higher

[00:02:16] Mason: value has been used before.

[00:02:20] Dan Kurzrock: Yeah, or, but not used up. Right. So it had its first use, but that there’s this higher value. Second year. That could be a co-benefit you know, of the product, you know, being, being created. So to apply it directly to food and like what we’re doing with rebrand, um, I think it’s one of the clearest cut examples of an upcycled food supply chain.

Every time beer is brewed. You use a lot of grain. That grain is used for the sh the sugars that are extracted from the beer. And I’m pretty sure a lot of flavor, but also the fermentable sugars for, for alcohol production, the physical plant man. It’s still physical plant matter. You know, the, the grain itself it’s had, some of its sugar is extracted, so it’s mostly fiber and protein and it’s, and it’s there.

And so instead of having it go to best case, uh, animal feed or compost, or, you know, worst case like landfill or incineration, you know, with upcycling, what we’re able to do is say, Hey, actually, let’s take that fiber, that protein, that flavor, but stabilize this as a new ingredient and use it to create new food.

So it’s bringing. Like a novel food source in where there was previous. Basically like a leaky bucket, you know, in the food system where stuff was going to lower value,

[00:03:31] Mason: probably a higher value part of the grain than the sugar. Okay. Um, from a,

[00:03:36] Dan Kurzrock: not from the Brewer’s perspective, right. From the Eater’s perspective.

Yeah, absolutely. And so when we talk about upcycling, um, you know, a lot of, one of the ways I like to frame it is, uh, it’s this idea of it’s like preventing food waste from happening and that in, in the first place, right. It’s, it’s preventing this wasted opportunity. Yeah. Is it better than compost, uh, to feed animals, maybe, you know, there’s LCAs and things like that, where you can look at the actual carbon footprint of this.

But like, if you look at the food recovery hierarchy, that’s as published by the environmental protection agency, the EPA there’s pretty clear pyramid kind of looks like that. A pyramid that you might remember from like nutrition growing up right at the very top of that pyramid is, is feeding people, you know?

So feeding people. Yeah. The most you know, about the highest, the pinnacle use for food, um, with similar arguments to like why eating plant based is so, much better for the environment, right. There’s less entropy, you know, that that’s happening. . So to answer your question, no,

[00:04:39] Mason: I think that was great.

Answer that I don’t think we really find much out there. People talk about upcycle, but I think it’s good to get back and really understand what it is. And while anything can be upcycled, you have really focused on food. Can you talk about why you chose food and the beginnings of that journey?

[00:04:59] Dan Kurzrock: Yeah, absolutely. And there’s lots of opportunities to upcycle throughout the economy. You know, food specifically, you know, there’s kind of an emerged, a few different like angles for what, you know, what can be upcycling? My journey started, I was an underage hamburger. So back in 2010, 2009, I learned how to make beer.

And every time I made a batch of beer, I’d have all this grain. It’s about one pound for every six packs. So I’d be making five gallons of beer. That’s like a third of a commercial CAG, and I’d have like 20 to 30 pounds of. Malt, you know, it’s like leftover from the process. I felt like I was like, I was living in a fraternity house, embarrassingly enough.

At the time I felt like I was like making like a batch of oatmeal for like the entire house of like 40 people or whatever, every time I made beer and then throwing that out. So I felt really wasteful. So it’s not, like I said, Hey, I want to get into upcycling. It wasn’t even a term that we were one of the first to start applying it to, to, to food, you know?

Cause it made a lot of sense from being sustainability nerds, It was kind of just like this product of experience, I guess, where it was generating was felt like massive amounts of a food supply. Every time I was making beer. wanting to do something better with it.

Um, and then learned that there was this rich history of people making bread with Eddie, actually going back to like the middle ages and in Germany, people taking the so-called spent grains from beer production and producing bread with it. There was brew pubs, you know, around the country that had pizza crusts and.

Pretzels and, you know, things like that, that used this grand, but nothing on a, like on a commercial level that was really connecting the dots between commercial breweries and commercial food manufacturers and thought that that needed to change. And so set out to do that needed a way to talk about it.

And we’ve become obsessed since, and you know, our business is really focused on. Potential supply chains that are being left off the table from these kind of co-product process like with beer producing. So at any beverage where there’s like a liquid being separated from a solid plant-based milks, another example of that.

Or for example, in the, uh, coffee production process, the bean is taken to make coffee. There’s this fruit that has a lot of beneficial properties. There’s also a leaf that has a lot of beneficial properties as a, as a tea. So we’re really like looking at these like new sources of, food. There’s a whole other world of food waste innovation and upcycling even specifically around.

Cosmetically imperfect produce off-spec, stuff, you know, where the bananas too big or too small or too straight or too curvy, or, you know, every permutation you can think of. And there’s a, there’s a whole kind of sector or sub sector, if you will dedicated to that, we’re, we’re focused on that.

Like by-product, co-product, you know, pillar

[00:07:41] Mason: So

[00:07:41] Jess: to go back to when you were brewing beer for yourself and for your roommates at the time. So that was on a small scale. When you started recognizing how much waste you were creating, what was your next step in terms of making this a bigger idea or moving forward with three

[00:07:56] Dan Kurzrock: grained?

Totally. Yeah, first thing I thought is, wow, like this. Like where’s the compost bin. I grew up with it with compost and a vegetable garden I’m in Northern California. And I was all the way down in Southern California for school. Right. A whole nother world. And there wasn’t a, a green bit.

And so it felt like I was, I physically felt like I was wasting food and. That’s what kind of set off this line of inquiry and figured if I could make beer, I could figure out how to make bread. Um, started making bread with it, sold the bread to friends, and then use the money from that to buy more ingredients to brew more beer and just start asking bigger and bigger questions.

This is if you know, if you look back. It’s not the early aughts. What do you call it? The odds that she hasn’t 10, like on what’s a decade called 2010s, the early 2010s. If you look back then it was actually this really this period of really rapid growth in the craft beer sector specifically. So there was actually more than two new breweries opening per day on average.

Yeah. Like

[00:08:57] Mason: I have more in Austin puns in

[00:08:59] Dan Kurzrock: Austin. And so that’s a good point, right? Cause not just a bunch of breweries opening, but breweries, opening in urban areas, which kind of shifted the ecology. If you will, of how this, this, uh, you know, would be waste stream was, you know, it was handled. And so, you know, here we are.

Making our own beer and, you know, figuring out that, oh, this is actually tasty and nutritious and people will buy products made from it at the same time that you’ve got this huge surge in craft breweries that are kind of shifting the industrial ecology of, you know, what’s happening with this, this waste stream.

Along the way, uncovered stories like, um, the history of whey protein, you know, as a, as an industry, in a way as a very valuable protein supplement that’s in all kinds of products. Do you know, do you guys know how, how we’re whey protein comes from it’s from,

[00:09:46] Mason: yeah, I actually saw, I was a chemical engineer in college and our senior project.

W everyone had to pick a plant and build a plant with a, and I think we were taking byproducts or we had choices and everyone chose the waste stream off of cheese. Cause it was right when way was turning into a protein supplement. So everyone made all that product. So I learned all about way from all of their presentations.

You’re allergic

[00:10:13] Jess: to whey protein, aren’t you?

[00:10:14] Mason: Yeah. Yeah. I’m allergic. And

[00:10:17] Jess: like, I’m not going to

[00:10:18] Mason: do it on whey protein. Right? I did, I did it tequila factory and I still feel like. Have valuable information from that.

[00:10:27] Dan Kurzrock: It makes them inulin from the, uh, uh, guy fiber, but similarly with, um, yeah, with, with way, you know, as you learn about, uh, first person, that’s a very specific allergy, by the way.

That, you know, it was a, it was a challenge for dairy processors, cheese makers, specifically to get rid of. Right. And then, you know, they developed a market for whey protein and others way producers, which uses the bi-product that’s it, that’s the way that it should go with like brewers, grain, and beer.

But, you know, it’s really interesting. I think historical analog that like this, this makes. Since, you know, that there should be, um, two products, you know, created here. And thinking about when

[00:11:08] Mason: you were doing, you’re talking about those stories and doing research, do you have any stats to help us understand kind of the magnitude of this?

Would be food waste issue. We have

[00:11:20] Dan Kurzrock: beyond

[00:11:21] Mason: beers at your question. Yeah. Just like, what is the total amount of food we cook? We should be using that currently.

[00:11:28] Dan Kurzrock: Yeah, the, uh, kind of the best like aggregate estimates are around, uh, anywhere from like a third to 40% of all food that’s grown is wasted.

Wow. Just pretty staggering. When you think about it, right? It’s like leaving the grocery store with five bags and dropping two in the parking lot. I got no worries. Got, got three other bags. And the data’s getting better and better. One of the best sources for data is this organization called brief ed, R E F E D.

You go to like head.org. They’ve got this incredible insights engine that they’ve they’ve built. And they, they put out one of the, uh, like an early back in 20 14, 20 15, like the first roadmap to reduce food waste. One of the things that I’ve always argued with. Just generally underrepresented in these totals is what potential upcycled supply.

Jen’s great. Cause there’s like some nuance between okay. What’s food waste and what, and what’s food loss. Right. And both of those require a framing upfront of thinking about everything as being potential food. And so if you look at the brewing industry, for example spent grain, so-called spent grain, right.

Typically measured as like food waste, because it wasn’t considered, it wasn’t really thought of as food. It’s just an input for making beer now. Is it food loss, you know? And then it’s like, how, how, like esoteric do you want to get, with this. And so my like TLDR on how much food we’re wasting is just like too much way too much.


[00:13:02] Jess: So regrade has been around for about a decade at this point, which is pretty amazing capturing the grains created by the brewing industry. Do you have an estimate of how many pounds of grains your company has recovered over the last 10

[00:13:12] Dan Kurzrock: years? Yeah. And what’s interesting too, is like, we’ve been at this for a long time, but it was a dream also for, for awhile.

It was kinda this like recreational entrepreneurship thing. We really been at it full-time since about 2017. And then I’ve been scaling like the ingredient business, you know, side of our, I think w which is a real potential for impact since a kind of like mid, mid 20, 20. you know, so our actual impact honestly is much lower than we would like it to be.

I mean, Tens of billions of pounds of this is grant that’s available right now. We are making a dent pretty much in a single brewery in a single city. And that’s still, that’s a lot of grant. I mean, it’s hundreds of thousands of pounds of grain per you know, per year that we’re currently taking. But it’s a slit or of the order of magnitude, that we are really looking to, to unlock here.

Um, and we’re at this nice turning point right now where. Awareness about upcycling is being tied into more general awareness about food waste is being tied into more general awareness about like the climate crisis and our food choices and the role that, that plays in that, you know, so you’ve got food product, develop the developers, looking at what they can be doing with their supply chain and innovation programs to make an impact, on the issue.

And, you know, for us like the key to. Moving the needle here is working with the existing players in the industry. Also the emerging ones, but know the companies that are already in the business of making, distributing, marketing, food products, and helping them create upcycled food products that then, you know, will translate to the us being able to upcycle more, supply on, on our side.

And so we’ve been really building towards. turning that on and it’s happening right right now. And it’s. Excited to have like a crazy, impressive number, you know, in the millions or tens of millions of pounds in the next one, we do an update on this, on this podcast, in the well, a

[00:15:09] Mason: hundreds of thousands of pounds is still, that is a big deal, I guess, when you arrive at the brewery and you’re like he said, he had taken a small slice of it.

Uh, I could see how that, that might not seem like a ton, but I think it’s amazing what y’all are doing and you are diverting it. And when you look at. Your website and the stats y’all have on your grain, even just versus other grains out there, it just looks like a dramatically better product has got better protein profiles better nutrition in it.

And so it’s disappointing that it hasn’t already just taken off and those tens of billions of pounds aren’t already being used. What do you think are kind of the, the barriers? What are the challenges to.

[00:15:54] Dan Kurzrock: Yeah. Yeah. And I think thanks for all that. And it’s, yeah, it’s a really amazing ingredient.

Really. The only like uphill battle we have with it, the big one is gluten-free right. That’s a huge trend in the, uh, in the food industry. Still, and this product is, comes from barley. It has gluten. And we said, we try to educate people like, Hey, not all gluten is created equal, you know? And. There’s also this huge fiber gap that we have, you know, their national diet, that this can play a role and, filling.

And it’s just like make sense, across the board, you know, in terms of scaling you know, when you’re setting out to build an ingredient business, Especially when working with some of the largest players in the, in the industry, um, they have very established processes for this to take, you know, take years.

And frankly, like it’s a big food company. If they launch a product in less than two years, that’s like really fast. And so, balancing this, uh, you know, first there’s this kind of like education and awareness hurdle, which I think there’s it’s night and day compared to, you know, even just like four years ago around this and then it’s okay.

Getting into the product development process with each of these companies and, and, you know, working with them to understand the opportunity, understand the applications. And we’ve got a lot of like partnerships that we’ve set up to help amplify our impact with what that side of.

Um, and then we, you know, you’re moving through this, this really slow process that’s really designed. So that many of these, like, especially like the largest food company so that they don’t like make mistakes. The process is optimized to avoid mistakes as opposed to producing kind of like net positive outcomes across the triple bottom line.

We need more fast moving companies or fast moving, like groups within these companies to be commercializing some of these most progressive ideas like upcycling, like sustainable packaging, like plant-based or anything on it and all the, uh, you know, all the other really exciting.

Innovative edges in the, in the industry.

[00:17:44] Mason: Yeah, a lot of people don’t even understand how dialed in some of the, especially in baking, some of these processes are, I went for a tour once of the BIMO factory in Mexico city and they produce, I think they were producing like two to $4 billion worth of pastries a year.

And they had 50 full truckloads of wheat flour. Arriving daily,

[00:18:11] Dan Kurzrock: literally like received ingredients and tankers. Right. And I’m just thinking about that. What’d you say like two, $2 billion worth of patient. That’s probably a wholesale price, right? So we’re talking about like cents per unit, like, think about how much I think about the outbound trucks, you know, like the volume is just.

It’s just astronomical. Um, which is also why it gets really exciting thinking about working, you know, with a large player like that,

[00:18:36] Mason: because yeah, flipping one of those

[00:18:38] Dan Kurzrock: lines, it instantly, it’s like a step function, right. As opposed to like a, more of a linear growth function, you know, with this it’s like, okay, we’re coasting along maybe for two years where they’re buying almost nothing while they’re developing a product and then they launch a product and it’s like, boom.

Right. There’s all of a sudden, need millions of memories. Circulation. Yeah. Yeah. So we’d love to like, well, we designed our technology so that it can actually like be deploying. Onsite at a, at a brewery or at a, you know, beverage production facility. And that’s like, our model for scaling is distributed infrastructure, you know, placed, you know, placed around the way.

But, um, and then what’s going to drive that is like, is demand, right? So more of these products coming to market being like, oh, you know, holy cow, we need to, we need to find some more, um, know, and of course we would be anticipating that by like, and that, but that’s how, that’s how it starts to get, um, yeah.


[00:19:31] Mason: Gotcha. So what’s coming next for regrade is essentially you become a process engineering firm and you implement it onsite.

[00:19:40] Dan Kurzrock: well, what’s now is that we’re a ingredient supplier and a development partner for food companies. So we have our own like basically vertically. Supply Turner, we don’t own the brewery, but that, you know, we’re, we’re producing the, um, the, the raw material and selling the raw material ourselves, and then working with companies around understanding how to, you know, how to use it.

So, like, for example, um, you mentioned a very large bakery, the way that we would, uh, engage with, group like, like bimbo would be through actually another relationship with a company called that makes, uh, they’re in like an industrial bakery ingredient, supplier and innovation partner. And they, work with them to develop products that a company like Grupo bimbo, and then ultimately, you know, take to market.

so like our next few years are really focused on supporting the innovation process and commercial scale-up of these products with, you know, large players and also emerging players in the, in the space. And then kind of what you were, what you were asking about. I, you know, we see as somewhat of a parallel phase, but really, uh, like a next phase.

Okay. What’s it look like to, you know, license this technology, but the, you know, the practical reality for right now is we’ve got the supply and now it’s about like actually activating the demand side of the equation to then justify, you know, further, uh, you know, increases in the supply chain side.


[00:20:56] Jess: so beyond selling the grain as an ingredient, you guys also experimented with a few CPG products, yourselves, like some puffs and bars. I’m pretty sure I saw the bars on imperfect foods. Um, at CCS, we sold our product there and we got imperfect foods delivered quite often during COVID it’s I remember seeing your product there.

And then in addition, there’s some pasta as well. How did all that go?

[00:21:17] Dan Kurzrock: Yeah, for sure. So one of the things that we’ve, uh, that w that we realized really early on was. On the demand side, I think no one knows how to talk about a Brewer’s grain or upcycled food, you know, more, more generally, um, you know, the brick industry calls it, brewers spent grain, for example, like it has no value left in it.

It’s spent its value. Um, not a great food name actually, because it’s actually really, if you look at it nutritionally, it’s a super grain, it’s got superior protein levels, superior fiber levels, you know, great flavor, et cetera. And so we figured, Hey, before we can convince another company to use this ingredient, maybe we should.

Try and make some things ourselves and see what that, uh, see what, and see what that’ll do. And so the first product we ever launched was was, were bars. We did a few versions of the bars, actually. Um, the bar format, one of the reasons why you see so many like nutrition bars, snack bars, et cetera on them on the market is because.

the barriers for entry are very, very low, right? You can start by making them by hand. cut pretty uniform bars, you know, in a, a, and like with like a manual process and package them with a fairly manual process. And they still have it look fairly professional as well. And so we, uh, we use that as our kind of platform to introduce this hero ingredient.

If you will. Had a lot of challenges with that product line, to be honest with you. Um, not the least of which was also commercializing compostable packaging at the same time. That was totally new to market and pretty much entirely untested. And that was really smart.

[00:22:44] Jess: Just trying to do the innovative

[00:22:46] Dan Kurzrock: yeah.

We’re just trying to do the right thing. Right. and so that was, that was interesting. But then we also, what we were thinking is that we could. Different categories and show that the, you know, the brewers grain, the suit reground super grand plus could be used in these applications and then have that kind of agitate stimulate, you know, demand from, from other food companies.

So we did it with ours first because it was the easiest thing to do it with. Um, and then we looked to salty snacks next and within salty snacks, and so, you know, we did. So then the kind of recent iteration of that is. Okay. Let’s work with startups, you know, where they’re not huge volume opportunities for our ingredient at the get go, but they can accomplish a similar thing from like, uh, showing different applications, you know, continuing to teach, uh, teach the market about, you know, about upcycling and the value of it.

And also, you know, create a. And hopefully like highly marketable best-selling product lines with some of these startups and help them in their, in their growth journey. Um, and so we’ve done, uh, we’ve got many of these in the works. Two of them have come to market so far.

[00:23:47] Mason: yeah, very cool. Well, we know well that, uh, CPG and spur experimentation can be very painful, but at the very least, you ha you now have this knowledge to pull from when you are collaborating with startups to, you know, help them with your lessons.

And if you have any slab formers in your bone yard, we’re in the market for a slab former, we actually have a new project where excited about. We’re taking restaurant kitchens craps and turning it in a dog food company will be called the conscious pet. And the first product will be called doggy bag.

Like what you’d take home from restaurants. And so I was a little worried at first, as I looked into you and upcycled food association, because it’s technically not going into human mouths, which I know would be the highest and best use, but it does qualify. Pet food does qualify as up cycled with cycled food association.

Do you separate pets from other animals? I’m just curious because people think of them as children or do you, are there actual differences in the quality?

[00:24:49] Dan Kurzrock: Yeah, it’s a really good question and know, super excited about the project you’re launching here. I think the, the pet food market is, definitely an area that we’re seeing a lot of innovation, you know, around, around upcycling, frankly.

It’s one where there’s always been a use for. You know, off cuts and things like that. And I think what’s important about, uh, and where the upcycled certification and whatnot can come in to really help is to show that, Hey, this, this is not something that was already happening, that we’re now just calling, you know, that we’re now just calling upcycling.

Should like bully sticks, you know, be considered. Uh, if you guys don’t know what that product is listening, and maybe go look up what a, what a bully I’ve

[00:25:26] Jess: heard of those.

[00:25:27] Dan Kurzrock: That’s a dehydrated part of a part of a bowl is penis.

And so that’s a, you know, like what are we gonna start calling that up cycled? So that’s, that’s kind of a dance right with, with, you know, with this and on the other end of the spectrum, like there’s, you know, this, um, very. Exciting opportunity with pet owners and, uh, an increasing consciousness of pet owners and what they’re feeding their pets and the values that that reflects.

And, um, there are, you know, all the supply chains that we’re talking about earlier that like without upcycling would have otherwise not gone to, to use, you know, maybe would’ve gone. You know, compost or landfill, or be incinerated or energy degeneration or, you know, any of these other lower uses. There’s also this challenge where very few municipalities actually allow still for like curbside food waste. Compost and they just take yard scraps.

even in places where there, you know, compost does exist, that doesn’t necessarily mean that food is going in there, let alone whether or not it can be rescued and put to a, higher use. And so, you know, I think there’s great opportunity with, with the pet food.

Market it is to your point or question earlier about like pets for animal feed. Yes. It is considered a separate category. Animal feed would be more like, livestock and, you know, ranching use and feed for, producing animals for the products that we then consume versus, you know, for babies, you know, they were saying, and there’s some other great brands out there that’s.

They’re very active from, from the beginning of the up cycled food movement is a shameless pet. You know, for example, they’ve got a whole brand built around upcycling fruit and veggie products and into pet food products.

[00:27:14] Mason: We worked with shameless pets at our last company CCS as well. And so it CCS, you know, we were making pasta out of fresh vegetables and kind of at our peak, I think we’re, it was all. I think it was a quarter million pounds of zucchini by-product a week was what we are creating. And, you know, for us, the lowest common denominator was compost.

We’re a, a zero food waste company. And then it, you know, there’s always just kind of up the chain. And I used to say just to the bigger, the mouth, the higher, the value, cause, uh, you know, the bacteria are eating it and compost and they’re pretty small mouths. They’re. Then you get to pats and then babies and then food.

And I. Uh, a big part of my time, constantly trying to, as we grew as our, as our food product grew, I had to spend more and more time trying to figure out what to do with all this food byproduct. Cause it was wonderful, organic, you know, clean fiber delicious zucchini. And so we ended up working with all of these

[00:28:17] Dan Kurzrock: companies as well, where you just curious where you reducing a cost center by doing that, where you improving profits by doing that, it was just the right thing to do all of the above, mostly the

[00:28:28] Mason: right thing to do people could come and just take it for free. And then if we had to transport it and store it in a particular way, we’d, we’d price it accordingly with a, you know, a zero food costs and then we’d figure out how much it would cost to actually get it to them in the form that they needed and then price it at that.

Got it. Cool. And so, you know, you mentioned other brands that are doing good things on the yeah. Website. I see a lot of brands on there and a lot of products that look really cool, and it doesn’t seem like very many of them have broken into the mainstream. What do you think are the challenges there?

[00:29:07] Dan Kurzrock: I think it’s a pretty classic like adoption curve question, right? So you always see a proliferation of startups before you see, the industry incumbents really doing that. So like, what it’s gonna take is like some of these startups scaling, and then at the same time though, you, you do have some of these huge companies, like dull and Mandalay’s and Del Monte, you know, some of the biggest food companies. And the economy, that are actively producing up-cycled up-cycled products as well. I’m not surprised at all that it’s, if you look at the member companies, it’s mostly, you know, it’s mostly startups and it’s worth noting too, that the upcycle food association was only started two years ago.

Oh, wow. You know, the December super new organization, the upcycle food certification launched just this last summer. And so. Yeah, there were seven or eight of us kind of peer companies starting this together. And, you know, it’s grown a lot in a very, in a very short amount of time. Um, and I would love to see membership continue to grow, but really what I want to see is more products from companies that aren’t necessarily up-cycled companies creating upcycle products, you know, that’s, that’s where this breaks.

Breaks into the mainstream. Upcycled food association is a member driven organization. That’s an industry nonprofit.

So when I’m talking about companies joining, like they’re literally becoming, you know, members of the up-cycled food association, and then many of those members will get products that are certified as being upcycled products, but the product certification and ingredient certification, you don’t need to be a member company necessarily to Get a, you know, a product certified.

[00:30:40] Jess: So seeing that certification on products maybe limited right now. Um, but our listeners can certainly look for that certification on products, but is there any other ways that our listeners can engage with upcycled food?

[00:30:53] Dan Kurzrock: Yeah, I think, I mean, looking for that, looking for that certification is definitely a good thing to do. Um, for listeners that have brands that. You know, some of your favorites, like people, a lot of people don’t realize that you can just like hit up some of your favorite brands on Instagram, you know, and sometimes it’ll be, it’ll get to like the founder or like an executive team member, depending on what the question is.

And so like, ask like, Hey, like what are you doing about food waste? What are you doing about what are you doing about upcycling? Um, there are increasing amounts of these products that are, there’ll be showing up on shelf. Um, you know, now and into the future that carry that, that seal, you know, that upcycled seal.

So it’s definitely something to look out for. But I think the most powerful thing, anyone who’s listening to this can really be doing is to walk away with an understanding of the food waste issue of what upcycling is and talk to a few people about it, right? Like word of mouth is a really, really powerful, tool that a.

Has ripple effects, well into the future. Yeah, absolutely.

[00:31:46] Mason: At CCS, we created, uh, a new category, turn vegetables into Pasa, but you’re creating, you’re helping create an entire new industries. So we thank you for what you do. And thank you for coming on the show. We really enjoyed talking to

[00:32:03] Dan Kurzrock: you.

Yeah, you too. So it was not just great, great to be with you. And always anyone who’s listening that wants to get in touch. I’m like abundantly easy to find or email and, um, you know, love supporting other, you know, entrepreneurs and innovators and kind of tapping into tapping into this.

So please be in touch.

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