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Your Future Coffee Sweetener Could Come from Food Waste

GinaMarie headshotWords by Gina-Marie Cheeseman
Energy & Environment
Food Waste

Food waste adds to the world’s greenhouse gas emissions because rotting waste gives off methane, a greenhouse gas 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide. One company has an innovative solution: It takes food waste and turns it into a natural sweetener.

There is much to appreciate about Fooditive. Founded in 2018 by a Jordanian food scientist, Moayad Abushokhedim, Fooditive buys the apples and pears that farmers can't sell due to flaws and uses them to create a sugar substitute. The company aims to achieve zero production waste by composting the scraps it can't use. 

The sweetener is compliant with the European Union's organic standards and was awarded the Skal certification, which means Fooditive can produce an organic sweetener in addition to the regular one. And both may soon appear on store shelves. 

Fooditive is working with Bodec, which it describes as a sustainable third-party production company, to get its products into Dutch supermarkets. It will also be distributed to various food and beverage companies across the Netherlands later this year, according to the company. 

Fooditive's circular idea attracts attention 

Fooditive's mission is to "develop food additives that contribute to a healthy body and a healthy environment,” founder Moayad Abushokhedim wrote in a statement on the company's website, and its idea to turn waste into resource is beginning to attract attention.

Dutch banking giant Rabobank awarded the company its Innovation Loan last year. What Fooditive is doing fits in with Rabobank’s program called Banking for Food, Wiel Hopmans, small and medium-sized enterprise account manager at Rabobank Rotterdam said in a statement. By turning apple and pear leftovers into a sweetener, Fooditive not only reduces food waste, but also “contributes to the European food industry by offering healthy alternatives to chemical sweeteners,” Hopmans said.

Fooditive also partners with Rotterdam Circular, an organization out to transition Rotterdam's economy from linear to circular by 2030. 

More companies are churning food waste into edible products

Fooditive isn't the only company turning food waste into edible products. ReGrained takes the byproducts of beer, which include protein and fiber, and makes a flour dubbed SuperGrain+ which is used to make snack bars and puffs. A six-pack of beer produces one pound of sugar-extracted barley which is turned into SuperGrain+. To date, the company has upcycled over 190,000 pounds of grain.

Pulp Pantry takes fresh vegetable juice pulp, a byproduct of juice manufacturing, and turns it into edible products including cereals and chips. What the company does not only reduces food waste, but water use as well: Every pound of pulp the company uses keeps 38 gallons of water from being wasted.

Around a third of bread is wasted in the U.S. Toast Ale reclaims leftover bread from bakeries and turns it into lager and pale ales. All of its profits are given to Feedback, an organization working to end food waste. A British company, Toast Ale also makes beer in New York City.

Such efforts are greatly needed. About a third of all the food produced annually for human consumption, approximately 1.3 billion tons globally, is either lost or wasted. Food that is lost or wasted adds up to around $680 billion in industrialized countries and $310 billion in developing countries. Fruits, vegetables, and root crops are some of the most wasted foods, accounting for 40 to 50 percent of all food waste, while cereals account for 30 percent.

Image credit: Pixabay

Gina-Marie Cheeseman headshotGina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by Mashable.com.

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