Organic sweet potato sales you can tasteStar-Studded Stonefruit, Exclusively from GiumarraAnthony Vineyards: High Flavor & Organic

Flavor Trend: Upycle

Flavor Trend: Upycle

Reducing food waste by becoming more sustainable is a big undertaking for any company, but what if we took it one step further? What if we added another tool in the home chef’s kitchen by making use of the entire fruit or vegetable in other means, much like how a butcher uses the entire animal in various dishes? One movement I’ve noticed taking the limelight amongst Earth-friendly consumers is root-to-stem cooking.

The idea of reusing carrot stems or onion peels in vegetable stock or turning citrus peels into candy isn’t new. However, there has been a surge on social media as home cooks explore upcycling produce scraps. Upcycling is essentially using parts that would eventually be discarded, such as broccoli stems or celery leaves. Influencers and consumers are taking advantage of being home more to experiment with their groceries and have created dishes such as banana peel curry, berry stem smoothies, and carrot top pesto.

Conscientious consumers are actively on the lookout for companies both on the supply- and buy-side taking a stand in being more Earth-friendly. As shoppers continue to keep sustainability at the top of their shopping lists, produce providers, retailers, and foodservice operators alike can show they’re Team Mother Earth by showcasing ways consumers can reduce food waste right in their very own baskets.

Embracing the potato peel in wedges or chopping up stalks or stems finely to incorporate into a sauce helps ease consumers into being more adventurous—enough to try recipes like banana peel ice cream, watermelon rind pickles, or even citrus seed pectin.

A convenient and easy way to pique shopper interest is through social media or packaging callouts for recipes that include root-to-stem cooking. Value-added products are also a great avenue for the supply-side to explore creating with this concept as consumers continue to cook more in their kitchens. After all, what better way to incorporate new value-added ideas at retail than to use products that are readily available?

Our industry is in constant movement, with new innovations, technologies, and flavors taking the stage to both move fresh produce forward and delight consumers for the next big thing. Sustainability is always on the lips of leaders and minds of shoppers, making this a clear next step our industry could take as we continue to be stewards for our Earth. A little dirt never hurt anybody, so why not leave the peel on?