Tyson Foods wants to use upcycling to reach its sustainability goals

Tyson Ventures is inviting upcycling startups to pitch at its Demo Day. Selected applicants may be given the opportunity to partner with Tyson.
Food in a garbage can.
The theme of the second annual Tyson Demo day is upcycling. / Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Tyson Ventures, the venture capital arm of Tyson Foods, is giving upcycling startups the opportunity to pitch their innovations as part of its second annual Tyson Demo Day. 

The theme of this year’s event is upcycling, and Tyson Ventures hopes to find upcycling technologies that will help the food company and the broader food industry reach sustainability goals. The event will be held at Tyson Foods world headquarters in Springdale, Ark., in July and startups can apply online until May 1.

“We’re embracing the circular economy and putting waste to work,” said John R. Tyson, president of Tyson Ventures and executive vice president and chief financial officer of Tyson Foods, in a statement. “At Tyson Foods, this means reimagining and reusing materials and working to reduce our environmental footprint.”

Participants selected from the submissions will be invited to pitch in person at Demo Day. Up to six startups will be given the opportunity to engage with Tyson Foods leadership and potentially partner with Tyson to test their innovations. In addition, the selected startups may receive mentorship from company executives and promotion on Tyson Ventures' social media channels.

Last year, 20 of more than 120 applicants were chosen to pitch at Demo Day. 

The upcycling startups will be evaluated based on their alignment with Tyson Ventures’ investment strategy, the upcycling solution's commercialization potential and the ability of the solution to help Tyson meet its sustainability goals.

“Upcycling is a critical factor in our formula to sustainably feed the future. From streamlining costs to reducing materials to landfills, upcycling makes both economic and environmental sense for our business, the industry, and the world economy,” said Tyson. “The creativity and passion the Demo Day applicants demonstrate in tackling a complex challenge in the food industry is incredibly inspiring.”

In 2021, Tyson Foods set a goal to achieve net-zero Scope 1, 2 and 3 greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The food manufacturer has also established a Science Based Target of achieving a 30% absolute greenhouse gas emissions reduction by 2030, for Scopes 1 and 2. Tyson Foods has made efforts to reduce food and packaging waste, including an investment in polo shirts made from a fabric sourced from recycled water bottles.

In addition, the company has avoided waste from byproducts in its animal processing operations by using those byproducts to produce animal feed, biofuels and fertilizers.

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