Home Waste Valorization to Develop Alternative Proteins

Food waste, which occurs along all stages of food processing, is a significant challenge and has a major negative impact on the environment. 1/3rd of food produced for human consumption globally, which is approximately 1.6 Bn tons per year, is wasted. Considering the significant impact of food losses, studies to identify the causes, impact, and solutions are necessary.

The upcycled food industry was worth more than USD 46.7 billion in 2019, and it is expected to grow at a rate of 5% every year for the next ten years. As per FutureBridge analysis, North America and Europe are important markets for different products from food waste, and East Asia has high growth potential.

Start-ups and established players are receiving support from government organizations to bring innovative plant-based products using spent agricultural waste and waste generated from industries and retailing sector. Upcycling allows sustainable and cost-efficient production of plant protein from industrial byproducts. The demand for sustainable natural ingredients has led giant food manufacturers, such as Nestlé, Tyson Foods, Unilever, Kraft Heinz, and start-ups to explore components from food waste.


Companies utilizing up cycling as a strategy to reduce waste


  • Founded: 2019
  • Headquarters: Sweden
  • Funding: USD 7.3 K

The company has developed climate-smart biotechnology systems to produce animal protein to create cheese. The company opts antibiotic-free process and uses genetically modified microorganisms to produce milk protein casein. The casein protein content is similar to conventional milk. The raw materials include biological residues such as meals from rapeseed oil pressing. The technology can help produce chemicals, polymers, proteins, and fats.


  • Founded: 2018
  • Headquarters: Netherlands
  • Funding: USD 0.64 Mn

Greencovery has developed technology that helps food manufacturers recover valuable products from their side-streams. The company has developed ingredients such as banana flavor (natural isoamyl acetate) recovered from the side-stream of vinegar production and flavoring industry side-streams. The company can also produce amino acid leucine, amino acid betaine, potassium lactate, and pectin. The innovative technology uses ion exchange resins as well as CO2 expanded alcohol to recover ingredients from the side streams.


  • Founded: 2020
  • Headquarters: Denmark
  • Funding: Undisclosed

Rootly develops plant-based products using fresh, unprocessed vegetables. The vegetables come from pulp, which is upcycled from organic, cold-pressed juice from FRANKLY JUICE company. The company has partnered with researchers at DTU (Technical University of Denmark) to develop skinless vegan sausages made mostly with vegetables and containing recycled juice pulp.

Change Foods

  • Founded: 2019
  • Headquarters: US
  • Funding: USD 15.3 Mn

Change Foods uses precision fermentation to modify microbes’ DNA to produce casein that can be used in making dairy-free cheese. The company intends to upcycle sugarcane fiber waste as feedstock to produce fermentation-based protein ingredients. The feedstocks development will be conducted in partnership with the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). The proteins produced can also be used in alternative yogurt and ice cream.

NoA Biosciences

  • Founded: 2019
  • Headquarters: Netherlands
  • Funding: Undisclosed

NoA Biosciences can convert sawdust, the wood residue left over from wood processing companies, or undergrowth in the forest into the substrate for growing mushrooms. The mushrooms grafted onto the substrate have about the same protein content as meat.

The food and beverage industry stands to gain commercial success using the waste upcycling strategy

The impetus for the reduction of waste has led companies to invest in this category. The usage of ingredients that would have ended in waste if not brought back into the supply chain allows companies to reach a circular economy. The technology also reduces carbon footprint and lowers stresses on the environment.


  1. FAO
  2. Polynatural
  3. Cirkulär
  4. Greencovery
  5. Rootly
  6. Change Foods
  7. NoA Biosciences

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