Water-saving upcycled tortilla chips voted best new product of 2022

The industry-first tortilla chips are made using 40% upcycled corn germ – compared to the tortilla chip standard of 100% virgin growth corn – which has reduced the Dallas-based producer’s water footprint by at least 20 gallons (76 liters) per 11oz bag .

In fact, Kazoo has managed to save 800,000 gallons of water since it started in 2021.

According to founder Joshua Death, the agriculture industry uses colossal amounts of water each year, but not all the food produced goes to feed people. In the US alone, it’s estimated that more than 100 billion pounds of food is wasted annually, equating to an eye-watering $160bn.

As a board member of the Upcycled Standards Association – which works to reduce waste by growing an upcycled economy – Death started Kazoo to use the surplus produce that is typically binned or turned into animal feed.

However, he also wanted to make a major dent in water use and has pledged that Kazoo will save 1 billion gallons (4.5 billion liters) of water by 2025.

labor of love

Kazoo combines upcycled corn germ – the byproduct from the nation’s massive corn starch industry, but in this instance, primarily harvested from generational farms in Iowa – and whole corn, using a proprietary process.

It took four years, and numerous failures, to develop the sustainable chip, tapping water footprint engineers who specialise in using this reclaimed byproduct to design the company’s model. However, Death didn’t stop there and pushed on with development to include better-for-you properties such as extra fiber, healthy fats and less carbs.