Unwanted food gets a second life

Efforts to combat food waste have been especially evident as of late, with chefs dreaming up new dishes from ingredients that would otherwise be discarded and alcohol brands likewise devising creative waste solutions. Further fueling the momentum are a number of new brands that convert imperfect ingredients into more appealing snacks.


UK-based snack brand Spare Fruit takes apples and pears deemed too ugly to eat, such as ones that are misshapen or too small, and makes them crunchy crisps instead. The company rescues fruit from local farms, slices them up, and air-dries them without adding any sugar. As approximately 40% of fresh fruit and vegetables don’t even make it to retailers in the UK, and the country’s food waste problem is only getting worse, Spare Fruits is making strides to reverse the epidemic. The company has saved 15 tonnes of fruit thus far.


Obscure seafood is often underappreciated, causing much to be thrown away. Meanwhile, food insecurity is a global crisis that’s on the rise. Rhode Island-based startup SecondsFirst seeks to offer some relief by taking seafood that is considered less desirable, such as skatefish, and upcycling it into fishcakes. The company combines the local fish with carrots, dairy, wheat, and egg-free ingredients to create a new protein-filled dish, saving vegetables in the process. Customers can thereby enjoy nutritious dishes, help support local fisherman and farmers, and promote sustainable practices.


Fruits and vegetables have the highest waste rate of any food produced, prompting three friends to help address the problem. Their efforts led to the creation of Barnana, banana-based bites in a variety of flavors that are made from partially dehydrated upcycled bananas from Latin America that would otherwise be thrown away. Dehydrating bananas was a family tradition for more than four decades for one of the company’s creators, and turning this process into a business has proven quite fruitful—Barnana is a multi-million dollar company that recently added more products and has secured funding to further expand growth.