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Mindful consumption

‘Upcycling’ a fast-growing food industry in Minnesota

 A burgeoning Minnesota industry uses discarded but still nutritious foodstuffs.We are honored to have our story told by Star Tribune reporter Brooks Johnson.Story by BROOKS JOHNSONPhoto illustration by NURI DUCASSI; iStock Star Tribune staffWhat happens to all that malted barley after beer is done brewing, or all those oats after being soaked to make oat milk? They are increasingly ending up back in food.Minnesota’s nascent “upcycled” food industry — which is one part recycling and another part food manufacturing — has gone from nearly non- existent to vibrant in just a few years. The aim of upcycling is to find new uses for otherwise discarded, yet still nutritious, foodstuffs. Repurposed grains are hitting shelves in baking mixes, crackers and even cereal.“It used to be a movement. Now it’s an industry,” said Sue Marshall, founder and CEO of St. Paul-based upcycling company Netzro.The practice of redirecting food waste — which the industry…
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The Food Crisis

In 2018, 14.3 million American households were food insecure. When so many Americans are experiencing hardship getting food, it is hard to believe that 40% of all America's food is wasted. Of that 40%, most of the food is completely fine and edible, or can be upcycled into a new, nutritious food product. Creating food for the world's population through agriculture is one of the earth’s biggest resource funnels, with 58.2 million gallons of water needed every second. Wasted food often ends up in landfills, releasing greenhouse gases and contributing immensely to global warming. Food waste puts pressure on the environment, pressure on our waste management system, and it raises the question: how does America change? Here are some easy ways for all of us to start reducing food waste: Planning meals: When you go to the store to get ingredients for specific meals, you create less food waste because…
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Fall Upcycled baking

This fall at NETZRO, we’re celebrating apple season by baking all of the upcycled goodies we can with the best local apples we can find. We mean no disrespect to the ever-popular pumpkin spice but, surrounded by a seemingly infinite array of Minnesotan apples, it feels like it would be a real shame not to make apple-focused baking our top fall priority. I recently went to a local apple orchard and when I came home, I knew those apples were destined to become an upcycled treat. Since I was in the mood for something a little healthier, I decided to go for a whole wheat apple bread - perfect for heating up for a warm fall breakfast, and maybe even topping with fresh apple butter. Here’s the recipe for anyone who also finds themselves with too many apples on hand - a very good problem to have - and a…
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Look out, organics, there’s a new kid in town: mindful consumption

Discussions of healthy eating are often led by buzzwords like “clean,” “natural,” and “organic.”  Organic foods in particular have led the market for some time now; however, they are facing a decline in consumer perceptions.  According to Mintel, only 26% of consumers trust organic food labels.  This is likely because most consumers don’t really understand what it means for food to be organic and because of a lack of consistent regulations. Additionally, according to a survey by the International Food Information Council Foundation, consumers preferred foods that were high in healthy components and nutrients as well as ones that were minimally processed/natural over organic foods.  Consumers are shifting away from specific labels like “organic” and toward broader concepts of health and environmentalism. This shift makes way for a new, more encompassing concept: mindful consumption.  Rather than focusing on one specific label like “organic,” a mindful consumer is focused on both…
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