Salt & Straw's New Menu Reduces Food Waste With Upcycled Ingredients

What tastes just as good as gourmet ice cream? Reducing food waste. Okay, well, maybe not, but when you are digging into some of Salt & Straw's newest flavors, you can enjoy the deliciousness all the more knowing that you're helping fight food waste in the U.S., which is linked to major greenhouse gas emissions. According to a press release sent to Tasting Table, the ice cream maker has partnered with several organizations that upcycle edible but unwanted food that would've otherwise been destined for landfills. To boot, the new offerings and the process associated with making them have already been designated Upcycle Certified by the Upcycled Food Association. The brand's hope is that it will breathe new life into oft-wasted ingredients and create memorable new flavor experiences.

"With 229 million tons of food going unsold or uneaten each year, Salt & Straw is able to rescue over 38,000 pounds to use in the creation of these special flavors for the Upcycled Food Series," reads the press release. "This collection embodies [its] mission to reinvent the ice cream experience ... and provid[e] meaningful experiences that bring the community together."

Customers will be able to order flavors from the Upcycled Food Series starting on May 26th and continuing through the entire month of June. And, for those not lucky enough to live near a Salt & Straw store, the company does ship its flavors nationwide.

A rang of eco-friendly flavors

Just because the ingredients are upcycled food, don't expect the new flavors to be any less inventive and intriguing than Salt & Straw's usual offerings. Each of the new creamy inventions was created under the supervision of co-founder and Head Ice Cream Innovator Tyler Malek. One of those partners for this ingredient-rescue venture is brothers Adam and Jeremy Kaye, owners of The Spare Food Co. who share Salt & Straw's aim "to fix the broken food system which views overlooked ingredients as food waste." They contributed whey-based Lemon & Ginger Spare Tonic for the Lemon Curd & Whey ice cream.

Not to be outdone, Portland-based Urban Gleaners help S&S source bread from area grocers and restaurants to make its Day-Old Bread Pudding & Chocolate Ganache ice cream. Cacao maker Blue Stripes is planning to save the usually-discarded cacao bean pod shells and pulp for S&S's Cacao Pulp & Chocolate Stracciatella Gelato. Renewal Mill is chipping in with okara flour, a byproduct of soy milk production, for the Salted Caramel & Okara Cupcake ice cream. And, upcycled barley leftover from beer production is provided by Evergrain for the Malted Chocolate Barley Milk ice cream, the first non-sorbet that is allergen-free.

While this is Salt & Straw's first foray into upcycling, the menu is reflective of the company's commitment to quality and community. Each month the company collaborates with farmers, purveyors, and organizations to create new flavor menus that align not just with culinary trends, but the seasonality of ingredients and "relevant cultural moments."