Future menus will feature repurposed ingredients.

  • Nov. 7, 2023
Future menus will feature repurposed ingredients.

New York — What if there was a method for cooks and food service managers to add more veggies to their prepared meals? Not any vegetables, mind you, but the ones that usually never make it off the field. Co-founders of The Spare Food Co. in New York, brothers Jeremy and Adam Kaye, imagine this using the company's new Spare Starter, which debuted on November 6 at Fornino in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY, marking the beginning of a two-week culinary event titled "Waste Not, Want More."

The goal of the campaign is not to include veggies in strange recipes. Rather, it's about feeling good about eating extra farm produce and cutting down on food waste. 

"Jeremy Kaye stated that Spare Starter presents a concrete approach to a fair and sustainable food system and a proactive means of supporting foodservice operators in meeting the sustainability objectives of their corporate clientele, diners, and operators."

The Kaye brothers are on to something, as Innova Market Insights, Arnhem, The Netherlands, predicts that consumers will continue to favor sustainability when making food decisions. "Nurturing nature," Innova's No. 2 trend for 2024, revolves around sustainability.

According to recent research from data and analytics solution provider NIQ (previously NielsenIQ), Chicago, 70% of consumers stated sustainability is more important when buying a product than it was two years ago. In the competition for diners' wallets, restaurants that use sustainable sourcing have an advantage.

According to Lu Ann Williams, global insight director at Innova, "brands that highlight a bond with nature and the environment are achieving cut-through with consumers, from regenerative agriculture to farming conditions for livestock."

Spare Starter, according to Jeremy Kaye, is a multipurpose culinary ingredient with value added that is created from six veggies and a special spice combination. It includes vegetable pieces that are generally cut and thrown away but are still nutritious, like leaves and stalks.

The ingredient was used by the Kaye brothers in everything from ravioli filling to burgers (30% vegetables and 70% grass-fed beef), working in tandem with Fornino chef and owner Michael Ayoub. Additionally, Mr. Ayoub uses Spare Starter on pizzas with ReGrained SuperGrain+ crusts from Berkeley, California's Upcycled Foods Inc. This flour is repurposed from leftover grain from brewers. Sangria prepared with The Spare Food Co.'s Spare Tonic, an eco-friendly probiotic effervescent tonic derived from recycled whey, is another item on the special menu.

According to Jeremy Kaye, "it is well documented that roughly one-third of all food that is produced is wasted, and that the most effective way that we can reverse the effects of climate change is to reduce food waste." We see wasted potential and underutilized ingredients where others perceive waste. Our goal is to stop food waste by changing everyone's viewpoint to emphasize the importance of the often-overlooked details.

According to Amanda Hartt, senior manager of NEXT Data and Insights-New Hope Network in Boulder, Colorado, food waste is a concern shared by people of all ages. "(Consumers) seek out brands that minimize waste throughout their supply chain."

In addition to minimizing food waste, Spare Starter also expedites back-of-house operations, particularly in times of manpower scarcity in the foodservice industry. Shelf-stable until opened; after that, it needs to be refrigerated. According to Jeremy Kaye, the vegan component supports a "plant-forward menu that doesn't compromise on taste."