Q&A: Reducing Food Waste with Chaucer Foods

April 2023

Did you know that over 30% of all the food produced globally is being tossed out or goes to waste1? At each stage of the supply chain — from farm to fork — food is discarded due to a shorter shelf life. To tackle this food waste crisis, environmentally conscious brands are working to develop shelf stable foods made from ingredients that normally would’ve been tossed out.

When these ingredients are freeze-dried, or processed, the shelf life is often extended, making it ideal to incorporate within new innovations. By doing this, companies around the world are enhancing the value of a product, cutting down on food waste, and helping to feed more people around the world.

We spoke with the R&D team at Chaucer Foods, to learn more about the rise in interest in “food waste reduction” products and to explore ingredients that can help spark your next innovation.

Q: What are “food waste reduction” foods?

A Foods and beverages which use ingredients that otherwise might be tossed out or expire fast can be considered “food waste reduction” products. Fresh produce, such as strawberries and mangos, or fresh baked goods, like sourdough and rye breads, tend to expire much too fast for consumption – adding to the global food waste. As a result, formulators and consumers are seeking ingredients that don’t perish as quickly. If looking to minimize waste, formulators can use ingredients with a longer shelf life to do their part in limiting food waste. These products, such as freeze-dried raspberries and baked pitta snacks, are less likely to expire or be thrown out due to the longer shelf-life– helping to cut down on the ingredients wasted across the supply chain.

Q: How has the interest in food waste reduction grown over the years? Do you expect it to continue growing?
A: The global interest in reducing food waste along the supply chain has been expanding over the past decade due to the growing interest in sustainability and, most recently, supply chain and logistical challenges. Instead of throwing away ingredients that can quickly expire, like fresh produce and baked goods, more end-use market consumers and brands are working to develop tasty options that make an impact on today’s massive food waste crisis. As global shoppers continue to become educated on food waste and interest in sustainability expands, the potential influence reduced waste, foods have is limitless.

Q: What technologies and ingredients does Chaucer Foods offer to advance this trend?
A:At Chaucer Foods, we have technology and processes in place that help reduce food waste for both our freeze-dried and baked ingredient ranges. While baked goods and fresh fruit typically are highly perishable foods, and often end up as waste, we’re able to offer high–quality, clean label ingredients that don’t expire fast and can significantly reduce this waste.

Our unique technological processes allow for a 6 –12-month shelf life for baked ingredients and up to a 12 – 18-month shelf life for freeze-dried, providing a solution for ambient stabilization, nutrient preservation, colour retention—while still being clean label friendly and delicious. From beverages to snacks, these technologies offer solutions to innovate longer-lasting, bettertasting, nutrient-dense formulations with the inclusion of our freeze-dried fruits and vegetables and baked ranges. On top of the shelf-stability of our ingredients, the technology allows us to provide offerings that have a wide range of textures, bold tastes, shapes, packaging formats, and flavours

Q: What benefits are consumers looking for in food waste reduction products?
A: Individuals are initially drawn in because they can make a direct and simple impact on the food waste crisis. By offering reduced waste foods, brands can help them have a positive effect without having to make major lifestyle changes. As another bonus, these products are just as delicious and nutritiously satisfying as a lesssustainable alternative—making it a tasty way for people to make a real difference.

Q: How does this trend shape the industry?

A: While a trail mix with freeze-dried fruit might not seem like much at first, as more and more consumers and food manufactures understand the impact these products can have on limiting waste—we believe the whole food industry will jump on board. This growing interest will foster opportunities for brands to get creative with their solutions to reduce food waste, and in return, we will see more sustainable products hitting the shelves. To meet this trend, R&D teams will be sourcing ingredients that not only fit the standard requirements, such as flavour and texture, but also avoid spoilage. As a result of our technology, our freeze-dried and baked ingredient ranges can help food manufacturers innovate alongside this trend thanks to its shelf-stability, nutrient-retention and delicious taste.

Q: What formulations work best with ingredients that help reduce food waste?

A: Any food and beverage category can utilize ingredients that reduce waste. From protein bars with baked inclusions to cocktails with freeze-dried fruits, every category can dedicate time to developing reduced food waste products. Two of the most popular markets for reduced waste foods are snacks and baked goods. Consumers have already shown a desire for sustainable product alternatives to snacks and baked goods, allowing formulators to test out more creative reduced food waste recipes and ideas. While those markets are currently leading the trend, any food producer, from manufacturer to restaurant chef, can experiment with ingredients that have an extended shelf life to offer a delicious dish worth trying.

Q: What are the most common
challenges associated with these products? What can a brand do to navigate those challenges?

A: A lack of widespread education and understanding is a hurdle brands must overcome when entering this space. Because it is a relatively new trend, and consumers aren’t largely aware of the ongoing food waste issue, your packaging, communications, and branding should be accurate and informative. This can be done by running intentional marketing campaigns that inform the audience of your product’s health and sustainability benefits.Additionally, a challenge R&D teams might run into is how to develop a shelf-stable product that has no additives but tastes great and has an enticing look. To overcome this obstacle, food brands can utilize any one of Chaucer’s ingredients as they check off all boxes the modern shopper is looking for. Not only does our process create a naturally longer lasting ingredient, but it maintains the taste, texture and nutrients—a quality attractive to today’s end-use market consumer.

Looking for more information on how to use freeze-dried ingredients to innovate natural products? Contact us at customer.services@chaucerfoods.com to connect with our team.

1 Growing the Upcycled Food Economy,” Upcycled Food. 2023.

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