Misfits Market and the Upcycled Food Association announced The Upcycling Challenge, a contest for food entrepreneurs to create an innovative, sustainable, and delicious food product that repurposes excess food or waste. Finalists will pitch new products to a panel of judges at EXPO West in March 2023 in Anaheim, California. Challenge winners will receive a one-year slot placement on Misfits Market with national branding and promotional opportunities and distribution in all 48 lower states, in addition to waived fees for the product to become Upcycled Certified by the Upcycled Food Association.

The food supply chain continues to battle food waste with manufacturing processes that create byproducts like small pieces, ends and crumbs. According to a study by ReFED, 35% of all foods in the United States goes unsold or uneaten and leaves a greenhouse gas footprint equivalent to 4% of total US emissions. The Upcycling Challenge challenges food entrepreneurs to find ways to give new life to those leftovers.

In addition, as many consumers today are more environmentally conscious, they are more likely to buy from sustainable brands and companies that aim to make an impact on waste. It’s reported that nearly 70% of consumers have greater intention to buy a product that is Upcycled Certified, according to the Hartman Group. This presents a major opportunity for sustainable food brands to create solutions that address the food waste issues that exist today in a market with ambitious, driven customers.

“Fighting food waste has always been core to our mission, and we've expanded our impact by partnering with sustainable brands such as Belgian Boys to bring consumers sought-after upcycled products,” said Abhi Ramesh, founder and  CEO of Misfits Market. “We’re excited to partner with the Upcycled Food Association to share our platform and elevate the next generation of food innovators who are committed to turning waste into delicious new products.”

"Upcycled Certified is based on the simple idea that the products bought and sold every day can fight climate change," said Turner Wyatt, founder and CEO of the Upcycled Food Association. “We are thrilled to be partnering with Misfits Market to spark supplier collaboration and innovation in creating delicious products that eliminate food waste.”

At EXPO West, applicants will have the opportunity to share a five-minute presentation about their item in front of a panel of judges. All submissions will be judged based on overall taste, quality of ingredients, percentage of upcycled ingredients, demand for the product within the category and packaging. One selected winner will be awarded:

- A year-long placement for sale on Misfits Market’s online grocery marketplace
- Upcycled Certified fees waived by the Upcycled Food Association (third-party certifying body fees still apply)
- National branding and promotional opportunities with Misfits Market
- Onsite featured Item support valued at more than $30,000
- Brand distribution in all 48 lower states via Misfits Market