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May 2024

Why purchasing upcycled ingredients can support your sustainable development goals

“One third of all food produced in the world is lost or wasted between farm and fork”.

That is a widely reported statement from the Food Loss and Waste Protocol – a partnership that seeks to promote and develop a global reporting standard for food loss and waste. Yet with global companies seeking to reduce waste and upcycle more, why are we still losing so much in the value chain?

Why purchasing upcycled ingredients can support your sustainable development goals

High awareness, but low responsibility? 

According to the latest WRAP report (Autumn 2023), which tracks UK household waste, personal responsibility remains low. Around 38% of households surveyed, do not consider food waste as a top five concern and 25% UK citizens are comfortable throwing food in the bin, rather than making use of it1, this is despite food waste being seen as a national issue.

Of course, businesses also have an innate responsibility when it comes to food waste too. In the UK, a government consultation was proposed on how to tackle food waste, resulting in mandatory reporting being considered, rather than a voluntary one. This forms part of the Courtauld 2030 Food Waste Agreement to deliver2: 

A 50% per capita reduction in food waste by 2030 vs the UK 2007 baseline

A 50% absolute reduction in GHG emissions associated with food and drink consumed in the UK by 2030 (against a 2015 baseline)

An overall target by 2030 that 50% of fresh food is sourced from areas with sustainable water management

The good news is that since 2021, there has been an increase of 27% of businesses setting targets, of which a greater proportion of these have reported a reduction in food waste3. Many of those companies that are doing so are utilising upcycling methods by partnering with bio-based manufacturers.

Upcycled products on the rise

With as many as a third of consumers finding upcycled products more appealing than other products on the market4, food brands are building partnerships with suppliers that deliver expertise in the upcycling industry. Emerging innovations in this field are those ingredients that are upcycled from fruit and vegetable skins, seeds and plant cellulose components. Cacao fruit pulp is being using to complement ready-to-drink coffee and tea beverages and ice creams due to its honey-like flavouring, while citrus fibres can offer extension on shelf-life and stability. Even mushrooms stems are being upcycled into a food preservative.

At ACI Group, we recognise the growth of the upcycled market is rapidly increasing, with current predictions suggesting it’s poised to register a 5.7% CAGR to 20325. That’s why we’ve partnered with globally recognised and innovative companies like Alvinesa® Natural Ingredients, biomega® and Goodmills Innovation to supply our customers with responsibly-sourced and sustainable products.

Upcycled grape and olive extracts

Spanish-based Alvinesa’s Hytolive® and Vintera™ portfolios comprise of olive fruit extract, grape extract rich in polyphenols, natural colour (anthocynanins), natural tartaric acid and grape seed oil. Using a bio-based process with zero chemical solvents, the company gently extracts the raw material nutrients to be used in applications such as functional foods and beverages, supplements, animal nutrition and more.

The Hytolive® brand contains a high purity of natural hydroxytyrosol extracted directly from the olive fruit to boost its health benefits and is recovered using a water-based process. Its Hytolive Infinity innovation can be incorporated into any source of edible oils, including omega-3 and seed oils, offering no impact on colour when added to a product.

Its Vintera™ Grape Extract contains the highest source of polyphenols (seeds and skin) at the best prices, with no- and low- pesticide use. Its no solvent extraction process makes it highly sustainable and ideal for products such as yoghurt, snack bars, beverages, pet food and supplements.

Upcycled salmon peptides and oils

If you’re looking for a way to increase protein in your supplements and functional food products, then upcycled salmon peptides and oils from biomega® should be your next idea for new formulations. The Norwegian-based company’s SalMe Salmon Peptides and Oil range for human nutrition, as well as its Salmigo® range for pet food, offers many benefits for both manufacturer and consumer. Its ethos – circular by nature, sustainable by process – carries through to all areas of the business.

For example, SalMe Peptides – a salmon protein isolate – contain more than 90% of protein and a well-balanced amino acid composition. Manufacturers will love that it’s 100% water soluble and is able to meet sustainable sourcing requirements for the consumer demands of today.

While over in pet food, Salmigo® Active is a protein concentrate powder with approximately 70% protein and other valuable micronutrients like taurine. Due to the way it’s naturally processed through enzymatic hydrolysis (by using heated water), it has a faster absorption rate than intact native proteins and is great for cat and dog foods, snacks and treats.

Upcycled wheatgerm

For bakery manufacturers who want to specifically target growing consumer demand for healthy ageing products, look no further than SpermadineEVO® from Goodmills Innovation. As part of Europe’s leading milling corporation, Goodmills has used the raw materials from wheatgerm production to create its innovative solution, SpermadineEVO, which has a positive effect on cell regeneration due to its autophagy process.

Applications include capsules, tablets, instant powder drinks and nutraceutical supplements like gummies and chewing gum. It can also be added to muesli bars, protein bars, smoothies, wheatgerm milk and bread.

By bringing these products to the UK and European markets, we’re supporting our customers to develop end products that are sustainable at source. Our role in the supply chain is therefore ensuring businesses are doing their part to increase upcycled ingredient use in the food industry. So, if you’re looking for ways to sustainably ‘upcycle’ your product portfolio, contact us today.


1,3. WRAP, UK Household Food Waste Tracking Survey, Autumn 2023

2. WRAP, Courtauld 2030 targets, accessed 2024.

4. Innova Market Insights, 2023.

5. Global Market Insights, Upcycled Food Products Market, 2022.