(Photo courtesy of POM Wonderful)

Natalie Willis, Reporter, Valley Ag Voice

POM Wonderful’s liquid pomegranate extract, POMxL, received an Upcycled Certification through the world’s first third-party certification program for upcycled food ingredients and products.

According to Jason Horvath, sales manager for POM Wonderful Specialty Ingredients, upcycled foods use ingredients that would not have originally gone to human consumption, effectively reducing waste.

“As an agriculture company, sustainability is at the core of everything we do. We believe POM Wonderful, in all its operations, must be a deeply responsible steward of the environment, and this certification is another important step towards creating a sustainable future and leading by example for other businesses to follow suit,” Horvath said in an email.

POMxL underwent a significant audit by the certifying body, Where Food Comes From, before receiving official certification. Horvath explained that the company has been implementing various sustainability practices throughout the years, including converting its 16 oz bottle packaging to 100% recycled plastic.

As a certified upcycled ingredient, POMxL is made with pomegranate rinds.

“We do an initial press of the whole fruit and previously would divert the remaining pomegranate rinds for animal feed,” Horvath said. “A second press allows us to extract the remaining liquid and antioxidant goodness through chemical-free pressure extraction without impacting the quality or nutritional value of the final product – this is POMxL.”

According to a press release, the Wonderful Company, owned by Stewart and Lynda Rae Resnick, has invested $1.3 billion toward environmental sustainability projects. Horvath noted that over $500 million has been invested in sustainable agriculture, such as water-efficient irrigation, eco-friendly pest control, and research and development.

“Additionally, we have pledged $850 million to leading universities for sustainability research and technologies that help protect our planet,” Horvath said. “This includes a $750 million commitment to Caltech and $50 million to UC Davis in support of the schools’ efforts to address today’s most pressing challenges in agriculture and environmental sustainability, including byproduct research and innovation.”

By 2025, the company plans to transition all U.S. operations to 100% renewable electricity and has invested $130 million in solar farms. POM Wonderful recently completed a 40-acre solar farm to power the processing plant, delivering more than 90% of the facility’s energy.

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