Upcycling: How to partner with consumers to meet sustainability goals

Petfood Forum recently sat down with Ben Gray, COO, Upcycled Food Association, and Alex Waite, Co-Founder, Shameless Pets. Gray and Waite will speak on partnering with consumers to meet sustainability goals via upcycling on Thursday, September 23, in the 1:30-4:15 p.m. “Sustainability in pet food” concurrent session. Register here to learn from Gray and Alex, and 30+ other industry experts.

Petfood Forum: What is upcycling?

Ben: Upcycled food is the easy way for anyone to prevent food waste via the products they buy. Upcycled products prevent food waste by creating new, high quality products out of surplus food. It’s an innovative approach to food waste because it is the first consumer product-based solution to combat climate change, making it highly scalable and economically sustainable. A team of experts from Harvard Law School, Drexel University, World Wildlife Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council, ReFED, The Upcycled Food Association and others officially defined “upcycled food” in 2020 for use in policy, research, by the industry and more: “Upcycled foods use ingredients that otherwise would not have gone to human consumption, are procured and produced using verifiable supply chains, and have a positive impact on the environment.”

Petfood Forum: How can a pet food producer set sustainability goals?

Ben: Setting sustainability goals can feel overwhelming even for organizations with the best of intentions. From how and where you source raw materials, to logistics, to energy consumption, and even waste generated – sustainability can mean a lot of things! It’s important to take an honest look at where you’re currently at in order to set realistic goals for where you want to be. Based on available resources, this may mean just tackling one area of focus at a time, but these changes can really add up to a big, lasting impact for your organization.

Petfood Forum: Can you give an example of a successful consumer partnership?

Alex: At Shameless Pets, we created an “ambassadog” program where we’ve built direct relationships with a variety of influencers with shared values and even connect them to each other through an Instagram community we created. We all share photos and experiences with our pets that may or may not even include our brand, but we really just enjoy connecting with the community in that way. I think naturally, these people have become our biggest advocates!

Petfood Forum: What pets rule the Waite household?

Alex: My two pups, Olivia and Madison, definitely rule the Waite household! Madison, a 9 year old yorkie, has certainly gotten more “shameless” as she’s gotten older, but haven’t we all?? When it’s getting close to dinner time, she’ll pick up her food bowl in her mouth and toss it across the room so everyone is very much informed she’s hungry!

About Petfood Forum

The 2021 edition of Petfood Forum is scheduled for September 22-24 at the Kansas City Convention Center in Kansas City, Missouri, USA. Petfood Forum includes an agenda packed with opportunities to network and collaborate with industry professionals, learn the latest in pet food trends and discover new tools for business success.