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More and more food is being made from 'trash'

Posted on Saturday, 30 December, 2017 | Comment icon 13 comments

Vast quantities of edible fruits and vegetables are going to waste. Image Credit: GNU OpenIDUser2
Companies have found increasing demand for products made from food waste normally destined for the bin.
Despite the fact that 62 million tons of food go to waste each year in the United States alone, one in seven Americans still lack consistent access to sufficient amounts of healthy food.

To make matters worse, a significant percentage of this wasted food is actually still edible and is only being thrown away because it is too small, too imperfect, or because it has passed its sell-by-date.

Now in a renewed effort to tackle the issue, scientists at Pennsylvania's Drexel University have carried out a study to determine how likely customers are to buy food that would otherwise end up in the bin.

By presenting participants with foods labelled "conventional", "organic" or "value-added surplus", the scientists discovered that members of the public are actually quite open to the idea of purchasing food that would have otherwise gone to waste.

Some firms have already been taking advantage of this by using food waste to create new products and the demand for such foodstuffs appears to be growing.

One such company - Rubies in the Rubble - uses over 200 tons of surplus fruits and vegetables per year and it looks as though this is likely to increase to 500 tons over the next twelve months.

"Rather than composting or donating scraps for pig feed or secretly carting it off to a landfill, [manufacturers are] going to own the fact that they're keeping this nutrition in the food system," said study leader Jonathan Deutsch, a professor of culinary arts.

Source: Smithsonian Magazine | Comments (13)

Tags: Food

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #4 Posted by seaturtlehorsesnake on 30 December, 2017, 20:22
eh, i don't know about that. it varies from person to person*   *old joke, sorry
Comment icon #5 Posted by _KB_ on 30 December, 2017, 20:45
Why not just learn how to cook instead? I mean I might not be the best cook ever but I when I cook I always use every edible part, I mean if you're gonna cook something use all the edible parts instead of eating food trash from some "fancy" place, I mean you can even use the bones to make some bullion 
Comment icon #6 Posted by rashore on 30 December, 2017, 21:03
Sure would. I have no problem with value-added surplus. I kind of already do with some of the cooking and eating habits around here. I'm frugal, a gardener, and a cook with a degree- part of my job around here is working that all into keeping food costs down while still eating really good and pretty much healthy. And that means using stuff to the max, and also less waste. Like when I do a turkey or whole chicken- lots of folks toss the carcass and bits and buy stock or broth. I keep that carcass, strip all the meat off that I can, and then make a gallon or more of homemade stock. I make stock ... [More]
Comment icon #7 Posted by pallidin on 30 December, 2017, 22:07
Presumably in most areas like where I live, the transfer of previously cooked food is heavily regulated by State law and the county Health Dept. Potential for rancidity and growth of harmful bacteria/spores is very high if too aged or environmentally uncontrolled. For some other products there is little to no issue. With proper address of these legitimate health concerns, much good can be done in re-using otherwise wasted food from, say, restaurants (full service or chain fast-food) In some locals this actually has been, for years, already in effect to supplement homeless-shelter food supplies... [More]
Comment icon #8 Posted by ChaosRose on 30 December, 2017, 23:07
I think you're misunderstanding.  You could still cook using surplus food products. 
Comment icon #9 Posted by seeder on 31 December, 2017, 10:40
This has been going on for some time in the UK. TV chef/personality Jamie Oliver was all over the TV asking the nation to eat 'wonky veg' he put it.... for example, in most supermarkets/shops all you ever see is straight cucumbers....BUT....cucumbers often curl.....same product, same taste...but a bent cucumber isnt seen as desirable so is madness.....same with potatoes that are 'knobbly'...and any other fruit or veg that maybe doesnt look 'ideal'     Then we had stories of people who would go to the back of supermarkets where they keep their huge bins....and they woul... [More]
Comment icon #10 Posted by pallidin on 31 December, 2017, 14:33
Thanks to all for pointing-out the potentially rich source from supermarkets... Makes sense; I forgot about them.
Comment icon #11 Posted by twobytwice on 31 December, 2017, 16:46
No thanks. I'll stay in the first world. Enjoy your diarrhea.
Comment icon #12 Posted by seeder on 31 December, 2017, 16:56
  perhaps you didnt understand the concept...
Comment icon #13 Posted by _KB_ on 1 January, 2018, 20:06
I think you're misunderstanding, why even leave surplus products in the first place?

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