Squeezing profits out of food waste
Whether it's fresh produce that fails to meet cosmetic standards in supermarkets, or the wasted skin and seeds of fruit and vegetables, Monash University is highlighting the possibility of gaining added value out of whole wasted products. In collaboration with IITB (India), they are working with the Food Innovation Centre, industry and farmers to help them transform food waste into profits and improve their business model.
Using biomass valorisation, Monash is helping the industry extract antioxidants, oils, pectin and protein from food waste such as mango, pomegranate and pineapple skin, spent coffee grounds and almond ash.
Professor Tony Patti explained, "This biomass valorisation approach looks at the entire fruit or vegetable and not just the part that is eaten or the juice extracted, that currently provides the value to the grower. The skins, seeds, kernels, leaves and offcuts were seen as 'waste', adding to their disposal costs. These by-products are not waste, but a potential valuable resource, providing several components, identified as being of high market value."
Patti said it will offer Australian growers and businesses the opportunity to expand into the pharmaceutical, cosmetic and pet food industries, and help the environment.
"Using this research, food and agricultural companies can tackle costly waste challenges, improve their environmental footprint and create a sustainable business that takes full advantage of growing demand in domestic and export markets for high-quality food products."
Discussions around this topic will take place during the 'Turning food waste into money' symposium on Thursday, 19 July.
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