November 18, 2021

Food giant Del Monte Foods has taken a lead in the upcycled food movement by redirecting over 270,000kg of green beans last year to make nourishing new products while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The food group specialising in fruits and vegetables – and which turned over $1.48 billion in the 12 months ending 2 May 2021 – has introduced the industry’s first canned vegetable product to be certified by Upcycled, a food association that is leveraging the market to prevent food waste. The body is currently the world’s only third-party certification programme for upcycled food ingredients and products.

Del Monte’s Blue Lake Petite Cut and Blue Lake Farmhouse Cut Green Beans are made with 100% upcycled and sustainably grown green beans from the US states of Wisconsin and Illinois.

Food waste is a major CO2 emitter

Greg Longstreet, president and CEO of Del Monte Foods, commented: “Having our green beans as the industry’s first canned vegetable product to be certified by Upcycled reflects our team’s dedication to ensure that nutritious food reaches its highest and best purpose, while protecting our planet.”

According to the US Department of Agriculture, food waste is estimated to represent a huge 30-40% of the food supply annually. By value this added up to about $161 billion worth of food in 2010 according to USDA statistics. Rotting food in landfills is also a major producer of greenhouse gas emissions and it is estimated that globally about 8% of CO2 emissions are from food waste alone.

Del Monte looks to expand upcycling

Molly Laverty, senior manager of environmental and social governance at Del Monte added: “Preventing food waste is one of the most important ways we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” Through its upcycled green bean products, the food group redirected approximately 270,000kg of surplus green beans last year and the company says it will “continue to identify opportunities to expand its upcycling efforts” across its brand portfolio.

Turner Wyatt, CEO and co-founder of Upcycled, said: “When people hear the term upcycled, they often think the product is going to be something they have never tried before. No. These are the green beans we have been eating our whole lives. The only difference is that by choosing Upcycled certified ones, consumers are actively preventing food waste.”

Since 2010, Del Monte has also partnered with the Feeding America programme to package upcycled green beans, peaches and pears. As a result, about 350,000 cases of nutritious food per year are delivered to communities in need.

How to become Upcycled certified.

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