April 14, 2024

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Top food trends explained: Upcycled snacks, artisan granola and more

3 min read

Food trends are constantly popping up online and social media, but some innovative ideas have more staying power than others, especially when born from culinary, sustainable-driven minds.

Celebrity chef George Duran joined “Good Morning America” on Thursday to break down a few top food trends that are creating a larger impact on the industry and food system.

Upcycling

Companies are finding ways to take imperfect ingredients that consumers don’t want and using them to make other tasty foods and snacks.

“Upcycling takes something that would otherwise be wasted to create something new that is even more valuable than what you started with,” Seconds, a gluten-free and non-GMO carrot snack and cracker company said in a statement. “Upcycling is the perfect process to convert carrot peels and pulp into something tastier.”

PHOTO: Sustainable and upcycled snacks from Blue Stripes, Flock and Uglies.

Sustainable and upcycled snacks from Blue Stripes, Flock and Uglies.

ABC News

This translates to less waste and in turn more support for farmers as well as helping to fight hunger.

Other sustainability-driven brands like Imperfect Foods take produce with cosmetic imperfections that traditional grocery stores won’t keep and package them to deliver to customers.

Uglies Snacks also utilizes what’s typically deemed undesireable and upcycles deformed potatoes, the so-called “uglies,” to make its irregular shaped, but very tasty kettle chips.

The Ugly Company takes a similar approach with fresh fruit that has deformities and transforms them to make healthy dried fruit snacks.

In the U.S., 70% of chicken that’s sold in supermarkets is skinless, so Flock Foods swooped in to make use of that chicken skin and turns them into a keto-friendly, low-carb, and high-protein snack — chicken chips.

Oded Brenner left his successful international chocolate restaurant chain to forge a new path in the industry working with farmers in Ecuador to utilize whole cacao fruit — shells, beans, fruit and all — to create wholesome nutrient-rich treats that taking upcycled food to the next level at Blue Stripes.

“Until today more than 70% of the fruit was wasted, and by using the entire fruit, we’re forming a sustainable structure that is a win/win for the consumer, farmer and the planet,” the Blue Stripes founder told “GMA.”

His product line includes chocolate-covered cacao, cacao bars, trail mix, cacao fruit water and more — plus the delectable treats are all full of superfood benefits such as antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

“Upcycling ingredients is not just a way of bringing delicious products to consumers, but is also our duty to Mother Nature,” Brenner said.

Apple Innovation

PHOTO: Envy apples are able to stay white longer when sliced.

Envy apples are able to stay white longer when sliced.

ABC News

Farmers have created a new breed of apples that withstands browning. The Envy apple, which was crossbred naturally between two varieties of apples, results in an apple with flesh that stays white longer. So when packing a lunchbox with sliced apples, they’re sure to stay bright white and crisp.

Artisan Granola

Gone are the days of boring toasted oats and seeds as more companies like Hampton Granola have produced artisan mixes with gourmet flavors like lemon blueberry granola.

PHOTO: Artisan granola and spreadable granola.

Artisan granola and spreadable granola.

ABC News

Purely Elizabeth makes use of superfoods and rich textures with ingredients like ancient grains, and probiotics to offer a wide array of gourmet granola — including gluten-free options. And as people prepare for crisp fall weather — there’s even a pumpkin cinnamon granola flavor.

Granola also comes in spreadable form as well, thanks to brands like Michele’s Granola’s Almond Butter Granola and Fix and Fogg, which has a crunchy oaty nut butter.

Better for the Environment Plasticware

PHOTO: Edible straws and utensils from Incredible Eats.

Edible straws and utensils from Incredible Eats.

ABC News

Incredible Eats has figured out how to manufacture sustainable utensils by making them edible. The edible spoons, sporks and straws are essentially crunchy cookies — made of wheat flower and brown rice.

Straw flavors come in chocolate and vanilla and can stay in your drink for two whole hours without the pesky flop of a flimsy paper-based alternative.

The spoons and sporks come in savory flavors like oregano chili and black pepper.

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