Food waste is being combated by Miyoko’s Creamery, which is most known for its vegan cheeses and butters, and Renewal Mill, a company that focuses on upcycling materials. The companies combined leftovers from manufacturing runs of Miyoko’s Creamery European style cultured vegan butter that the vegan brand was unable to package and sell otherwise with the star recycled ingredient from Renewal Mill, okara flour (a byproduct of soy milk processing) to make vegan cookies.
“What a dream come true to have a partner like Renewal Mill, [which] is revolutionizing the industry by finding delicious homes for rescued ingredients like our end-of-run butter… We can’t wait for everyone to try our collaborative peanut butter cookie and taste how great doing good can be,” said Jennifer Kaplan, director of sustainability at Miyoko’s Creamery.
The companies have so far worked together on two cookie flavors—Salted Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip—that can be purchased for $2.99 apiece on the Renewal Mill website. A third Snickerdoodle flavor is in the works.
Fighting Food Waste
Research has consistently proven that foods generated from plants have a smaller environmental impact than foods obtained from animals. For instance, a study from the University of Leeds in 2021 that was published in the academic journal PLOS One found that meat eaters emit 59 percent more greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than vegetarians. The study’s authors found that dairy products account for 14% of the carbon footprint of food, whereas meat accounts for 32% of diet-related GHG emissions.
The recipe for the cookies created by Miyoko’s Creamery x Renewal Mill was developed by James Beard Award-winning chef Alice Medrich, a product developer at Renewal Mill. The cookies go beyond simply using plant-based components to reduce GHG emissions by also including byproducts that are frequently wasted, resulting in delicious, environmentally friendly cookies that reduce food waste.
“According to Project Drawdown, a leading climate change research organization, reducing food waste and eating a more plant-rich diet are two of the top three things we can do to stay below two degrees of global climate warming… Creating artisan cookies made with Renewal Mill’s upcycled ingredients and Miyoko’s Creamery’s plant milk butter is a delicious way to help achieve both of these goals and to put power back into the hands of consumers to make a difference,” said Renewal Mill co-founder Caroline Cotto.
Saving The Planet
Miyoko’s Creamery develops its own products that are friendly to animals and the environment by using plant-based components instead of dairy, in addition to working with organizations that reduce food waste.
Miyoko’s Creamery, established in 2014 by visionary chef Miyoko Schinner, aims to create a world where dairy products derived from plants are the standard. Miyoko’s Creamery has transformed the cheese and butter categories by fusing traditional creamery practices with cutting-edge technology and proving that plant-based dairy is, in fact, dairy. More than 25 plant-based cheeses and butters are available from the company at more than 20,000 stores nationwide, including Whole Foods, Target, Trader Joe’s, and Walmart. The company is currently developing a number of novelties in the vegan cheese market, including the first vegan cottage cheese to use watermelon seeds.
Schinner is aiming to standardize the discourse surrounding dairy products created without abusing animals outside of the consumer goods industry. After Miyoko’s Creamery was targeted by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) for using the terms “butter” and “dairy” on its vegan products, despite the company’s clear labeling of the products as “vegan” and “made with plants,” animal rights group Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) filed a lawsuit on behalf of the vegan brand in 2020. By siding with Miyoko’s Creamery in 2021, the US District Court for the Northern District of California established a precedent for the use of these phrases on vegan goods.
“Using words such as ‘butter’ and ‘milk’ in the context of even products made from plants and not from animals is common parlance among consumers in the modern world… Food is ever-evolving, and so too should language to reflect how people actually use speech to describe the foods they eat. We are extremely pleased by this ruling and believe that it will help set a precedent for the future of food,” Schinner said in a statement.
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