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  • Natalie Rouse

Future Foods Bites: By-Product Utilisation

In this short Future Foods Bites, we explore the opportunities for By-Product Utilisation, which is an exciting and innovative space for opportunity to create sustainable and nutritional products.

The food industry has changed rapidly over the past years, driven by consumer trends, and policy, there has been growth in many sectors. Whilst this has created new and exciting products it also creates a great need to ensure all parts of the product are used - minimising waste and thus increasing the sustainability and maximising the value of the product.

A great example of a product that was once viewed as being worthless, was whey, from cheese manufacturing- farmers were paid to take it away to feed to pigs! Now globally is worth $8.2bn, driven by the demand for high protein-nutrient-rich functional foods, and for its versatility in food industry applications such as a texture enhancer, thickening agent, gelling agent. This has led whey to be used as an ingredient in almost everything from clinical nutrition to its usage in potato snacks!

As plant-based protein demand increases and production scales up, there are many opportunities to utilise pulp, skin, and residues, that could create new added value extracts and ingredients.

For example, the potato starch industry, used in many food products creates an excess stream of protein juice run-off. This was until recently deemed as waste, yet analysis discovered it to be a rich source of protein, complete in all amino acids required for human health, creating potato protein. Brand leaders such as breakfast brand Fuel10k, CNP, My Protein, and Bulk Powders have already seen potato proteins great potential and have added potato protein to their products.

The potato protein market was valued at $399mn in 2019 and expected to double by 2025.

Another example is the beverage brand ‘Flawsome’, founded in 2017. The founders where shocked by the amount of food waste purely based on the produce’s appearance and inspired to do something about it. Now the brand utilises ‘wonky’, imperfect, or flawed vegetables that would have otherwise gone to waste.

Many agriculture to end food product processes result in the generation of by-products, which can be viewed as holding little or no value, resulting in large scale waste streams.

The emergence of new food products driven by plant-based trends has observed great potential to take by-products and create new, innovative ingredients, such as high nutrient extracts, proteins, amino acids, bioactive compounds, and fibres- all fitting current and projected future trends; sustainability, functionality, health and enhancing.

Some of the newer areas of consideration are algae biomass, shells from shellfish, coffee husks from bean roasting. The list of opportunities is endless, making it an exciting and innovative space for opportunity to create sustainable and nutritional products.

If you are a company that is looking to explore the utilisation of by-products or have a production system that creates by-products and would like to investigate the potential uses to create added value products, become more sustainable, and reduce waste please get in contact with us on:

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