Upcycled food movement starting to sprout

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Would you eat something called trash pizza?

The year-old San Francisco restaurant “Shuggie’s Trash Pie” is daring diners to try it out.

No, they don’t go dumpster diving to find their ingredients.

They use upcycled toppings on their pizzas, like ugly mushrooms, misshaped peppers and discolored tomatoes, as well as offcuts of meats, like using ground beef hearts to make meatballs.

All the ingredients are perfectly safe, and often delicious, but would have otherwise been thrown out.

It’s part of the growing upcycled food movement, aimed to prevent food waste.

The Upcycled Food Association says over 35 million tons of food are wasted every year in the U.S., about 40 percent of the food the country produces, costing the US economy over $200 billion.

To help raise awareness of the issue and do their small part, Portland-based chain Salt & Straw Ice Cream is now scooping up flavors using upcycled ingredients like day old bread and ground cacao husks, which are normally thrown away during chocolate production.

The ice cream maker also uses products from Renewal Mill, an Oakland-based upcycled food company which turns byproducts from plant-based milk into pantry stables like baking flour.

All of Renewal Mill’s products, as well as Salt & Straw’s new ice cream line, comes with an official “Upcycling Certified” seal issued by the Upcycled Food Association, to raise awareness with consumers.

Thirty products received the seal when the association first launch it in 2021. Now 450 products carry the designation.