Sustainable snack: CJ CheilJedang upcycles manufacturing by-products into nutritional chips

By Hui Ling Dang

- Last updated on GMT

Excycle Basak Chips are made from by-products generated during the food-manufacturing process and would have been discarded otherwise. ©CJ CheilJedang
Excycle Basak Chips are made from by-products generated during the food-manufacturing process and would have been discarded otherwise. ©CJ CheilJedang

Related tags CJ CheilJedang Sustainability upcycled foods

South Korean food giant CJ CheilJedang is ramping up efforts in developing “earth-friendly” food products, as its upcycled chips made from manufacturing by-products gain popularity among local consumers.

Launched in April last year, Excycle Basak Chips were retailed at health and beauty chain store Olive Young, online platforms CJ The Market and Kurly, and various pop-up events.

Despite a small-scale debut, close to 200,000 packs were sold in 10 months.

The positive response prompted CJ CheilJedang to roll out these upcycled chips to convenience stores in the country from February this year.

Excycle Basak Chips are made from by-products, particularly broken rice from CJ Hetbahn’s instant rice and soybean curds from CJ’s Happy Soy tofu products, which are generated during the food-manufacturing process and would have been discarded otherwise.

“According to a report by the Korea Rural Economic Research Institute, the amount of agricultural food waste per year was about 5 million tonnes in 2019.

“The upcycled snack was conceptualised by CJ CheilJedang’s in-house food venture programme, INNO 100. The first prototype was produced in 100 days, and it took one year before the chips were officially brought to market,” ​Juhee Jung, co-project lead of Upcycling CIC (Company in Company), CJ CheilJedang, told FoodNavigator-Asia​.

The firm focused not only on upcycling food waste, but also the nutritional content of its new innovation. Each 45g pack of chips contains an equivalent amount of protein in one egg (7g) and the dietary fibre of two bananas (4g).

Along with the launch in convenience stores, the packaging design was given a revamp, with greater emphasis on words like “upcycled” and “protein”.

In addition, Global Recycled Standard (GRS)-certified Post-Consumer Recycled (PCR) PET materials are used for the packaging, further raising the environmentally friendly value of the product.

“Excycle Basak Chips has become a representative example of eco-friendly food that reduces food waste and contributes to resource circulation. We will continue efforts to expand our portfolio of food-upcycling products,” ​Jung said.

A match for regular snacks

Two flavours were introduced during the initial release, namely Original, which offers a light and savoury taste, and Hot & Spicy, which comes with a piquant kick that is said to pair well with beer.

A third flavour, Truffle, has since been added to the line-up. In this rendition, the chips are infused with Italian white truffles to create a rich savouriness.

For all flavours, the chips are puffed, instead of fried, to deliver extra crunchiness.

“The chips have been well received by consumers, who commented that its taste and quality are comparable to ordinary snacks. There is also positive feedback online, including on Excycle’s official Instagram account. Some found it amazing that this ‘crispy and delicious’ snack is made with by-products, while others think that it is ‘meaningful’ to have such eco-friendly products,” ​Jung shared.

CJ CheilJedang intends to increase the sales channels of Excycle Basak Chips in 2023, including plans to stock them at supermarkets and department stores across South Korea. The firm is also considering exporting the snack to other countries in the near future.

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