Why is Food Waste an Issue?

Sometimes we are left feeling helpless when we hear about food waste in the supply chain.

There are around 1.3 billion tons of food waste per year, with more than half occurring outside of our homes. 

Food waste is causing a huge environmental impact, all while a large portion of the planet is food insecure. 

Because of this, it’s a goal in UN SDG 12.3 to reduce food waste and food loss by 50% by 2030.

It’s more important now than ever to use sustainable products that reduce food waste and increase the utilization of food so we can ensure every bit of our growing population has enough food to eat.

Thankfully, there are some actions you can take to help this cause.

ugly apples

So What Can You Do About it?

Sure, we can save our food at home and make an impact there. But can we actually make an impact in the supply chain?

The answer is yes! Our buying decisions impact the resulting supply chain actions.

Buying products that use ingredients that would otherwise be wasted is a great step to reducing your footprint.

We’re going to detail eight innovative companies that have tackled the food waste issue head-on and made it tasty by using “upcycled” ingredients.

8 Companies with Products that Reduce Food Waste:

  1. Imperfect Foods
  2. Uglies Snacks
  3. The 2050 Company
  4. Rise Products
  5. Ripe Revival
  6. Pulp Pantry
  7. Upprinting Food
  8. Rubies in the Rubble

1. Imperfect Foods

  • Business Model: Delivering fresh produce that is considered too “ugly” for retailers directly to consumers

Imperfect Foods has taken the world by storm lately as everyone realizes the benefits of buying ugly produce. Flavors and nutrients in imperfectly shaped produce are just the same as those meeting rigid retail visual specifications. They take the produce that is rejected by supermarkets due to appearance and sell it directly to consumers. Claiming prices up to 30% less than national supermarket chains and delivery, Imperfect Foods has all of the factors necessary for a sustainable fresh produce business.

2. Uglies Snacks

  • Business Model: Making potato chips from potatoes deemed “too ugly”

The folks at Uglies realized that most people are still happy to eat potato chips from potatoes with brown edges, dark spots and wrong sugar content. When potatoes fail tests due to “cosmetic imperfections,” Uglies takes them and converts them into delicious potato chips. It’s also important to note that their potatoes are not diseased, rotting or unripe, so they still taste great!

3. The 2050 Company

  • Business Model: Creating smoothie powders from recovered fruits

The 2050 Company has tackled the food waste issue head-on by finding a valuable way to repurpose fruits that would otherwise be wasted. The founder Austin Hursh, has set the Earth as the #1 stakeholder of the company. He names it after the fact that by 2050, we will need to produce more food than in the last 8,000 years combined. The only way to accomplish this is through efficient and sustainable production. Why not make saving the world tasty? In less than a minute, you can make a smoothie that tastes virtually the same as a smoothie from fresh or frozen fruit, while retaining nearly 97% of the nutrients. Find out more about The 2050 Company.

4. Rise Products

  • Business Model: Using leftover grains from breweries and turning it into a variety of products

Rise Products works with craft breweries to ensure they maximize equipment utilization and turn their byproducts into tasty food! Offering products like granola, barley “super flour” and brownies, Rise Products upcycles excess grains and converts them into healthy ingredients. To see their products, check out their website.

5. Ripe Revival Market

  • Business Model: Delivering local foods to people at home and to those in need

Ripe Revival Market is admirably focused on many causes at once in response to COVID-19: preventing the spread of the coronavirus, supporting local businesses, delivering nutritious foods, and fighting food insecurity. Through buying unused food products from local businesses and delivering them to paying customers and those in need, Ripe Revival Market helps ensure that the food waste and food insecurity issues are tackled at once. Also, with every membership Ripe Revival Market donates fresh foods to those struggling financially.

6. Pulp Pantry

  • Business Model: Making chips from upcycled veggie pulp

Pulp pantry proves that healthy and sustainable foods can still taste great. By using organic juice pulp from kale and celery as a base, these chips make sure ugly and rejected vegetables still have a home (your stomach). With flavors of chips like Jalapeño Lime, Salt ‘n’ Vinegar, and Spicy Vinegar these will surely be eaten quickly. But even if they aren’t, vegetables are preserved longer in chip form than in their original form, so there’s a much greater chance they aren’t wasted.

7. Upprinting Food

  • Business Model: Recovering food and turning it into decorative (and edible) 3D-printed food products

Upprinting Food is unlike any other company on this list. Founded by Elzelinde van Doleweerd as her graduation project in 2018, this company turns food into “attractive, tasty food using 3D printing.” The possibilities are really endless with this technology and can give restaurants a great advantage over competitors. The best part is all products are made using food that was once unattractive and would have been wasted otherwise.

8. Rubies in the Rubble

  • Business Model: Making condiments from surplus food

With upcycled plant-based condiments like mayo, ketchup and relish, Rubies in the Rubble is making your meals tastier and more sustainable. Even if you decide to buy normal produce from retail stores, you can still make an impact on the food waste issue by using these sustainable condiments. Their good taste also ensures you eat everything on your plate and don’t toss it in the trash!


To account for the large rises in population and the limited number of people working in the food production industry, we are forced to look for ways to sustainably and efficiently produce food.

Buying products that reduce food waste is a perfect way to do that, and these companies are leading the charge. Check them all out and reduce your food waste impact!

How Else You Can Reduce Your Food Waste Impact

We’ve created the 30 Day Food Waste Challenge to provide you with 30 different ways you can reduce food waste. Do you think you can do all of them in 30 days?

To learn about how OneThird is using shelf life prediction technology to reduce food waste in supply chains click here.


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