Looking to food waste for new ingredients20 Aug 2018
The food industry produces an enormous amount of waste during processing, but some are looking to give such products new life as valuable specialist ingredients.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that one third of all food produced globally is either lost at the farming and production level, or wasted at the retail, manufacturing and consumption level. During food processing, waste products include vegetable-based leftovers after the extraction of oil, starch, juice and sugars, animal-based wastes like bones, offal and hides, and waste from dairy processing, such as whey protein from cheese making.
Increasingly, researchers and innovative companies have started considering ways to extract maximum value from these products, adding them back into foods and food packaging, and also reducing their environmental impact.
The FAO has said that preventing food wastage to begin with is the best way to reduce its economic and environmental impact, but it recommends finding new uses for food products that do end up being discarded. Some examples include using coffee grounds as a growth medium for mushrooms, spent brewing grains in bread and pretzels, and tropical fruit waste in biodegradable packaging.
Scelta Mushrooms is one company taking this approach, supplying a range of salt enhancing extracts from mushroom waste, such as stems, blanching water and mushrooms that are considered visually unappealing. Swiss company FoodSolutionsTeam uses green chemistry to make functional ingredients from vegetable waste streams, including an ingredient from carrot pulp that can be used for water binding in processed foods. The company produces similar ingredients from linseed, peas and rice.
TNO is also exploring the possibility that new ingredients could be produced by fermenting waste products. The work is currently at a pilot phase, but it says potential ingredients include vitamins, antimicrobial components, fibres, oligosaccharides and organic acids for food preservation.
As almonds and almond ingredients continue to gain in popularity, the Almond Board of California is another company looking at reusing waste, such as almond hulls, husks and twigs. Currently used as low-value animal feed, it says such products could be used to produce sugar or beer, as a growth medium for mushrooms, or for biodegradable plastic.
Many companies and researchers are looking for compostable alternatives to flexible plastic packaging, and food waste streams may provide an answer. For example, researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology in the United States recently developed a flexible, transparent and biodegradable plastic-like film from crab shells and tree fibres. However, challenges still remain to scale up their work in a way that makes the packaging cost-competitive with petroleum-based plastics.
In the meantime, major companies including Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Danone and Nestlé Waters have already made pledges to move toward biodegradable packaging, and are exploring food waste streams for potential raw materials.
Sustainability has grown in importance for consumers and food manufacturers alike, and previously discarded by-products are being reconsidered right along the food production chain – from ingredients to packaging. As national governments, EU institutions and organisations like the FAO continue to back new research in the area, it’s a trend that shows no sign of slowing down.
UK High Court allows Oatly to use 'milk' on packaging
17 Jan 2024
Oatly has scored a landmark victory in the use of the word milk after the UK High Court ruled against the country’s dairy industry and permitted the term to be used on packaging.Read more
Chobani expands drink presence with La Colombe acquisition
16 Jan 2024
Greek yoghurt giant Chobani has purchased US coffee brand La Colombe Coffee Roasters for $900 million, furthering its expansion into beverage categories like coffee, oat milk, creamer and ready-to-drink offerings.Read more
PepsiCo to reshape convenient foods portfolio with less sodium and more plant proteins
10 Jan 2024
PepsiCo has revealed details of two nutrition goals that look to reduce sodium and boost consumption of legumes, whole grains, and plant-based proteins as part of the multinational’s expanded convenient foods portfolio.Read more
Meet the innovative ingredients showcased at Fi Europe’s New Product Zone
3 Jan 2024
The Food Ingredients category at Fi Europe’s New Product Zone featured 19 distinct and innovative products. From fermented delights to sustainable proteins, these ingredients are ready to make their mark in the market.Read more
Fi Europe’s New Product Zone elevates the nutrition of everyday indulgences
22 Dec 2023
At Fi Europe 2023's New Product Zone, eight health ingredients, each offering an enhanced nutritional profile of various products, were on display. These ingredients address the evolving needs of the food and beverage industry and cater to consumers se...Read more
MyAir plans to expand personalised adaptogen products to UK
15 Dec 2023
After launches in Japan and the US, B2B personalised nutrition company MyAir is eyeing the UK market with its white-label functional food and drink products. “Taste is a must – but it's not enough,” says its CEO. “Food has become functional and persona...Read more
Augmented technology is the gateway to new food experiences
13 Dec 2023
Harnessing augmented reality as a digital tool could offer consumers increasingly personalised food and beverage experiences, opening up new ways to see and taste products, according to a report by Canvas8 and Givaudan.Read more
Colombia introduces tax on ultra-processed foods
7 Dec 2023
In a bid to curb rates of obesity and other non-communicable disease, the Colombian government has introduced a tax on various ultra-processed food (UPF) and drink products.Read more
Snack trends, ingredient claims, and plant-based perceptions: Highlights from Fi Europe 2023, part 1
7 Dec 2023
Value-led snacking, sustainability storytelling, and the importance of having a ‘star ingredient’: we asked consumer analysts and market experts at Fi Europe about the trends and innovations that are shaping the food industry.Read more
Consumers want more plant-based meat without GM ingredients
28 Nov 2023
Plant-based meat has been a hot and popular category for several years, but not all North American shoppers are embracing vegetarian alternatives that contain genetically modified (GM) ingredients, according to the Non-GMO Project.Read more