Food waste is a pressing issue that has long been a concern for individuals and organisations alike. According to the United Nations, approximately 17% of all food produced globally is wasted, amounting to a staggering 931 million tons annually. This wastage, not only puts a strain on natural resources, but it also contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. Fortunately, there is a solution gaining momentum in the fight against food waste: the food upcycling economy.
Food Upcycling On The Rise
Food upcycling is the process of transforming food waste or byproducts into new, edible products. It is not a new concept, and it has been around for centuries in different forms. In the past, people would use leftover food and scraps to make soups, stews, and other dishes. However, it was not until recent years that food upcycling became popularised as a formal industry.
Consumer Driven Change Worldwide
The change was driven by the consumers, as they became more aware of the environmental impact of food waste, and demanded products that were sustainably produced and less wasteful. This led to the rise of food upcycling startups and initiatives, with companies such as ReGrained, Renewal Mill, and Toast Ale leading the way. It is estimated that the food upcycling market will reach a value of $97 billion by 2031.
What About The German Consumers?
Through our DCMN Brand Tracker, we have invaluable insights into the consumer behaviour and preferences, so we decided to collect first hand data regarding the topic of food waste and upcycling in Germany. The nationwide research took place in March 2023, surveying 2,000 individuals. Let’s examine the findings and explore their implications for businesses and consumers.
The Food Waste Generation Gap
Our survey data disclosed that home-cooked meal leftovers contribute the most to food waste (49%), followed by fruits and vegetables (29%) and dairy products (13%). While gender distinctions were minimal, a generational divide emerged, with younger age groups displaying a higher tendency for food waste, particularly regarding restaurant leftovers and animal products.
Deciphering the Food Upcycling Phenomenon
Nearly half of German consumers (46%) are oblivious to the term ‘food upcycling,’ and a mere 21% assert complete understanding. However, when enlightened, a promising 62% express interest in purchasing upcycled food. This inclination is more pronounced among women and those aged 25-35 compared to their counterparts.
For upcycled food aficionados, the primary motivations are waste reduction (37%) and curbing food expenditure (32%). These findings suggest that consumers are increasingly considering the environmental and financial repercussions of their choices.
Food Upcycling Brands Operating in Germany
For the German consumers eager to try food upcycling, or simply to learn more, here is our selection of brands operating in Germany.
- Too Good To Go – mobile app that connects consumers with restaurants and grocery stores that have surplus food. It allows users to purchase discounted meals and groceries that would otherwise go to waste.
- Koro Drogerie – produces snacks and other food products from imperfect or surplus ingredients.
- SirPlus – rescues food that would otherwise go to waste and sells it at discounted prices through its online store and physical retail locations.
- Etepetete – delivers organic fruits and vegetables that are considered “ugly” or surplus to help reduce food waste.
- Foodsharing – facilitates the sharing of surplus food among individuals and businesses to reduce food waste and promote sustainability.
The insights gathered from our Brand Tracker expose that, while food waste remains an urgent concern in Germany, food upcycling is capturing the public interest as a solution. Brands and businesses operating within this industry can capitalise on these insights to cater to the growing consumer demand for sustainable, cost-effective alternatives.
Together, we can consciously contribute to a sustainable food future for generations to come.
DCMN’s Brand Tracker solution offers a wealth of insights into consumer behaviour and preferences. If you’re eager to discover more about our Brand Tracker service capabilities and how they can benefit your brand, don’t hesitate to contact us.