And they want you to help fund the project

By Tim Nelson
June 05, 2018
Courtesy Indiegogo

In our age of (at least theoretically) more mindful consumption, food waste registers as a legitimate concern worth tackling. While most of the efforts to address this issue center on making sure we eat a greater percentage of what we purchase, food companies, restaurants, and bars have realized they can generate some goodwill and boost their margins by transforming old food scraps into new offerings.

Multinational poultry purveyor Tyson is the latest such company to fight food waste with its own new product. Through their ‘Innovation Lab’, they’ve found a way to transform “upcycled” chicken into a set of protein packed-crisps. Available in flavors ranging from “Chicken Carrot Curry” to “Chicken IPA White Cheddar”, each fully recyclable can of ¡Yappah! crisps packs over eight grams of protein per serving.

Though the concept of “upcycled” chicken might conjure images of loose poultry bits swept up off of a slaughterhouse floor, these snacks seem to have more of a gourmet origin. The snacks are the brainchild of Kang Kuan, the current executive chef of Tyson’s Innovation Lab who made a name for himself as the sous chef at Michelin-starred outlet French Laundry before becoming the executive chef at Morimoto Napa.

With a resume like that, it’s no surprise that Kuan can turn one man’s food trash into snacking treasure. In addition to the aforementioned “upcycled” chicken, which a Tyson press release describes as “chicken breast trim that is still full of flavor and protein,” other old food products are given new life across the four flavor offerings. “Celery Chicken Mojo” and “Chicken Carrot Curry” incorporate rescued purees left over from juicing, while “Chicken IPA White Cheddar” and “Chicken Sunshine Shandy” re-use spent grains generated as a byproduct during the brewing process.

It all seems to make sense, especially once you stop to realize that a chicken nugget is in some sense “upcycled” (you didn’t think they just came that way naturally, did you?). Probably the only truly confusing part is that there’s an Indiegogo campaign trying to get ¡Yappah! off the ground. You’d think that Tyson’s reported $38.2 billion in 2017 sales would mean they’ve got $4,500 lying around to fund an R&D spinoff project. But at least it’s good to know that some are willing to kick in their hard-earned cash to get early access to a snack that might help save the planet.