Upcycling waste into innovative new products
In 2021, Abokichi launched their upcycled ABO ramen noodles, which was included in the Re(PURPOSE) upcycled meal kit along with their miso soup made from a sake brewing by-product. This year, in the COIL Activate Circular Accelerator, they are looking to scale these products to market and in grocery stores. One of the largest by-products of tofu production is okara and for every 1kg of tofu produced, 1kg of okara is left over. Both of these products use upcycled by-products and turn them into a unique and exciting new product.
Reducing waste: An estimated 7000 tonnes of okara is left over from tofu production and Abokichi aims to reduce that number as much as possible
Leading by example: Abokichi aims to position themselves as “market makers” to inspire businesses to use by-products and create new upcycled products
How they made it work
Abokichi started out in 2013, selling Japanese rice balls at farmers markets and in their café in Toronto. They realized that selling ready-made OKAZU (Japanese chili oil) and their miso soup had greater success as Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG). This allowed them to communicate more efficiently with consumers about the environmental benefits. In the end of 2017, they closed their café to focus on those CPGs and new innovative products. Since then, Abokichi has been focused on minimizing waste and utilizing food by-products in new ways.
“Upcycling is not just something nice you do, or a marketing thing. It’s a real opportunity for businesses.” – Fumi Tsukamoto, Co-founder and CEO of Abokichi