About a third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted in the supply chain indicate Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates. With food companies and retailers under pressure to become more efficient and reduce losses, many are re-directing food waste from landfill. According to market research firm Organic Monitor, a transition is occurring whereby waste previously going to low-end applications - such as animal feed and biogas - is making its way into new ingredients.
“Novel ingredients are being created from food waste as new technologies improve extraction and processing methods,” highlights Organic Monitor. For instance, the Swiss company FoodSolutionsTeam is using green chemistry to extract active materials from food side streams. Made from carrot pulp, its KaroPRO ingredient has water binding applications in processed foods. The Swiss company has similar food ingredients made from organic linseed, peas and rice. Phytonext is another company using new extraction techniques to produce ingredients from citrus peel and tomato waste.
EU funded research
The European Union is also funding research to create new ingredients from food waste. The BIORICE project involves extracting starch from rice waste to make ingredients for functional foods, nutraceuticals and cosmetics. Another project, APROPOS, involves taking proteins from salmon and rapeseed waste for cosmetic applications. A Spanish cosmetics firm plans to use the novel extract as a foundation for a new cream product.
Such ingredients have already made headway in natural personal care products. The Marks & Spencer department store is using resveratrol from grape waste in its Super Grape skin care products. The grape waste is coming from the production of the retailer’s own label wines. The French company Caudalie has built its entire range of natural personal care products from grapevine-based and grapeseed ingredients, such as resveratrol and polyphenols. Organic Monitor research finds the brand leads the French natural cosmetics market; its products are now present in over 30 countries.
With the global population projected to reach 9 billion by 2050 and agricultural land becoming increasingly scarce, more investment is expected in creating new ingredients from food waste.
“A recurring theme in the Sustainable Foods Summit and Sustainable Cosmetics Summit [two events organised by Organic Monitor] is ‘closing loops’ whereby waste materials find a new life in fresh applications. Organisations like TerraCycle have been successful in closing the packaging loop for consumer products; it remains to be seen how soon waste from food streams will find better lives,” concludes Organic Monitor.