This Toronto company is the first of its kind to be recognized for combatting food waste
Pluck, a female-owned brand from Toronto just became the world's first tea business to be certified in upcycling. This is one of the latest green movements to prevent waste in food and beverage.
The certification is issued by the global nonprofit Upcycled Food Association (UFA). They define upcycled foods as "using 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."
"More than half of consumers want to buy more upcycled foods,” said Angie Crone, CEO of UFA. “Having this certification on select products allows consumers to identify and make more informed purchasing decisions that align with their values.”
In Pluck's case, the company upcycles ingredients such as grape skins, orange peel and cacao shells.
For example, their Chocolate Chai blend's key ingredient is sourced from bean-to-bar chocolate maker ChocoSol in St. Clair West. The local relationship helps eliminate additional shipment needs from suppliers, along with the environmental impacts resulting from that process.
“Gaining the UFA’s upcycling certification is another clear step towards our ‘Tea for Good’ commitment," said Jennifer Commins, Pluck CEO and Founder.
Five of the brand’s innovative, premium teas, made with locally-sourced ingredients, have received the seal of approval: Citrus Ginger, Southbrook Berry Blend, CTRL+ALT+DEL, Chocolate Chai and After Dinner Mint.
In order to pass UFA standards, products need to undergo a rigid and lengthy assessment. Certified products are categorized into three types: Upcycled Ingredient, Containing Upcycled Ingredients, and With Minimal Upcycled Ingredient Content.
In 2020, the association estimated that US$1 trillion of food is wasted or lost every year, globally. And reducing this number is the top solution to climate change, according to Project Drawdown.
You can have a taste of more upcycled foods from other Toronto businesses such as Bruized and Spent Goods Inside; or, experience a complete sustainably-sourced meal at restaurants like 1 Kitchen and Ration Beverley.
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