Environmental consciousness is increasingly impacting consumer decisions when it comes to what they purchase. There is a growing interest in products made from recycled materials and products that are ‘upcycled’. This includes dried fruits or products made from recycled grains that have been recognized as a sustainable and innovative option, catering to eco-conscious consumers who are seeking products that align with their values.
At Sunrise Fresh, we have been upcycling since the beginning and we know the many advantages and benefits of upcycled dried fruits. We also recognize, in our businesses, whether as an industrial ingredient supplier or a producer of consumer snacks, that sustainability influences the purchasing decisions of today’s consumers with products made from ingredients that would otherwise be wasted or destroyed. Whether it is a shopper who wants to help cut landfill waste or a CPG giant that wants to respond to that same call, Sunrise Fresh is here to help.
Growing Interest in Upcycled Products
The move towards less waste and more sustainable living has reshaped consumer behavior, sparking a desire for products that promote eco-friendly practices. Upcycling is the process of transforming by-products or surplus materials into new, higher-value products. This practice has gained considerable attention among eco-aware consumers and those who wish to minimise their impact on resources.
In the food industry, raw fruits and vegetables are a vital part of our diet, but they also have ‘shelf lives’ that are measured in days – and that is a huge issue. Add to that the fact that many consumers will still not purchase fruits or vegetables that are visibly damaged, but otherwise fine, and you multiply that problem.
To address that, the food industry has long had other methods of preventing raw fruits and veggies from just being tossed in a landfill. First, there is the common method of freezing and/or canning that allows food that would otherwise go unused to be ‘saved’ for future use. Then we have the various drying methods that have, since ancient times, allowed humans to safely store foods for later use.
Lastly, fruits and veggies may also be ‘juiced’, preserving some of the nutritional value and creating great tasting beverages. In each case, these methods use fruit and vegetables that would otherwise go to waste, creating many advantages and environmental benefits along with healthy and tasty ‘preserved’ foodstuffs.
Advantages and Benefits of Upcycled Dried Fruits
Upcycled dried fruits play a significant role in reducing food waste. Surplus or imperfect fruits, grains, and vegetables that might normally be discarded due to their appearance or overstock, are upcycled and preserved through a drying method or by canning or freezing. These products contribute to minimizing environmental effects like landfill waste and reducing greenhouse gas emissions that are associated with food waste.
The upcycling process conserves valuable resources by repurposing and converting excess fruits and veggies into nutrient-dense forms. This sustainable approach minimizes the need for additional resources and energy that would typically be required in the production of entirely new products.
Contrary to some common misconceptions, upcycled dried fruits actually retain their nutritional value. Dried fruits are efficient at maintaining things like vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants, offering consumers a healthy and wholesome snack option that is just as nutritionally dense as non-upcycled options.
Implementing upcycling practices in the food industry has broader implications, and supports a more circular economy. Companies that engage in upcycling initiatives create demand for sustainable and renewable food products. This demand can positively impact local communities, support farmers, and benefit the wider economy.
Upcycled Products and Purchase Decisions
There are several reasons why customers may opt for upcycled dried fruit products vs. non-upcycled options, these can include:
Over the past couple of decades, there has been increased conscientious about the environmental impact of food production and purchases. For those concerned with the environment and sustainability, upcycled products like fruits, grains, and vegetables, align with values of sustainability and eco-friendliness. Consumers can feel that they are making a positive impact on the planet and economy with their buying choices.
Consumers are drawn to brands that prioritize ethical practices, making a vote with their money. Purchasing upcycled products supports companies committed to reducing waste and contributing to a more sustainable operation. This resonates with consumers seeking to spend their dollars with responsible and ethical brands.
Health and Nutrition
The nutritional value of upcycled food products may influence purchase decisions. Consumers appreciate goods and items that offer consistent health benefits and good nutrition, making upcycled dried fruit snacks, or products made from upcycled grains and vegetables an appealing choice for health-conscious individuals.
Looking to the Future
The popularity of upcycled food products continues to rise and the awareness of the massive amount of food waste in the United States and elsewhere grows in awareness. Organizations like the Upcycled Food Association, of which Sunrise Fresh is an active member, has helped to raise awareness, not only among consumers but within the industry as well.
As larger companies react to the demands of consumers, the market for upcycled fruits will continue to grow and shoppers will make more purchase decisions based on the impact of the production of those food items. Dried fruit not only offers a range of health benefits and a wide array of tastes and textures, but is also appealing highly to consumers who are looking to make meaningful and conscious purchasing decisions that minimize environmental impact. Sunrise Fresh will be there to provide ingredients, whether in your energy bar, Trailmix, cookies, sauces or right out of the bag as a healthy earth-conscious snack!
If you would like more information on how you can us upcycled – and no-sugar-added dry fruits in your products or for your family, feel free to contact us at: Solutions@sunrisefresh.com