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Upcycled Cuisine

The term “leftovers” is taking on a new meaning. As the zero-waste food movement gains momentum globally, manufacturers and chefs are innovating like never before to develop delicious “upcycled” products and dishes from what was once overlooked and left behind.

The USDA estimates that 30-40 percent of the United States food supply is wasted annually, and upcycling presents a unique answer to this challenge. From financial, environmental and culinary standpoints, the benefits of upcycling are extraordinary. The mindful use of organic byproducts that would typically be discarded presents an opportunity for culinary creativity and innovation. Chefs are taking a root-to-stem approach, repurposing bruised fruit and vegetable peels. We’re seeing almond milk byproducts turned into flour; pistachio shells replacing barbecue wood chips; and pomace (grape pulp and skins) used to make grapeseed oil. Blanching water from mushrooms can create umami-rich, nutritious liquid mushroom concentrate and dried mushroom powder.

Fiber-rich green banana flour derived from less-than-perfect produce, sauces made from beer brewers’ spent grains, coffee flour produced from the pulp of harvested coffee beans and gut-friendly whey beverages made from yogurt and cheese byproducts are just the tip of the iceberg for upcycled cuisine. Get ready to get scrappy!

Our SAVORY SPENT GRAIN ONION TART gives new life to humble ingredients, including a dough made with ReGrained brewer’s spent grain flour and a zesty sauce of NuBana green banana powder enhanced with Custom Culinary® HarissaWatch the video!


Day-old bread, leftover rice and fresh produce scraps are just some of the ingredients that can be repurposed as delicious and sustainable menu items. Try these recipes featuring Custom Culinary® branded products as inspiration!

Gently mix leftover mixed berries into a silky waffle batter, cook to golden-brown perfection then fold in half and stuff with a large scoop of whipped vanilla custard filling made with Custom Culinary® Crème Anglaise Sauce.

Day-old bread, overripe brown bananas and leftover mixed nuts are folded into a creamy vanilla custard made with egg yolks and Custom Culinary® Crème Anglaise Sauce, then baked into a gooey, rich bread pudding. Finish with a drizzle of bourbon-infused Crème Anglaise Sauce.
A blend of mixed vegetable trimmings, day-old bread and nuts with garlic, smoked paprika and spicy Custom Culinary® Harissa create a bold romesco spread. Serve with extra virgin olive oil, crispy chickpeas and a side of grilled bread.

Potatoes, leftover vegetables and bacon serve as a delicious savory breakfast hash, topped with runny poached eggs, a drizzle of Custom Culinary® Hollandaise Sauce and a sprinkle of fresh herbs.

Day-old rice is sautéed with leftover mixed vegetables, garlic, soy sauce and Custom Culinary® Bibimbap Sauce, garnished with sliced green onions and sesame seeds before serving.

Hollow out leftover baked potatoes and stuff with tender braised beef short ribs, melty cheese curds, fresh parsley and a drizzle of savory beef gravy made with Custom Culinary® Master’s Touch® Demi-Glace Sauce Concentrate.

tracking food waste

Get scrappy

Through such sustainable practices, the culinary community can significantly impact food waste while adding profits to their bottom line. Visit our Monetizing Food Waste resource page for inspiration. Together, we can create a better future by reimagining the possibilities of every ingredient in our kitchens.

Custom Culinary Flavor IQ
FlavorIQ® enables our customers' growth and success by approaching the creation of customized solutions with a bold mix of expertise, aspiration and curiosity. We develop unique products, menu concepts and "gold standard" flavor delivery systems, meeting the requirements of our customers today and anticipating their emerging needs, too. The opportunities we identify for operators and food manufacturers on a global scale are rooted in a deep understanding of the culinary arts, sensory science, consumer insights and food science. Our ultimate goal? Innovation without limits.
Adi Menayang, “From ingredients out of by-products to Ecopouches, Scelta Mushrooms develops products out of waste-reduction efforts,” Food Navigator, July 4, 2017.
Erin McPherson, “Ingredients That Reduce Food Waste Have Never Been More Important,” FSR Magazine, April 15, 2020.
Elizabeth Crawford, “Investing in the Future of Food: ReGrained offers advice to find partners that magnify impact,” Food Navigator, August 28, 2019.
“Hero Dish, Zero Waste,” Flavor & The Menu, December 2019.
Mary Ellen Shoup, “Soymilk and tofu pulp byproduct could be the next ‘it’ ingredient, says Renewal Mill,” Food Navigator, August 2, 2018.
Stephen Daniells, “Upcycling: ‘We believe there is a second life for everything’, says Rise CEO,” Food Navigator, August 16, 2018.


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