Valorising food waste by extracting high value food ingredients such as bioactives is a preferable alternative to traditional valorisation approaches, such as animal feed. This report investigates the potential benefits and drawbacks, as well as favorable conditions for such processes through a number of case studies, using tomato side streams as an example.
High value exploitation (such as production of food ingredients, enzymes and nutraceuticals) is considered a more appealing alternative to traditional valorisation (largely as animal feed) or waste treatment of rest flows from food chains and food waste.
By extracting valuable food ingredients, like bioactives, flavours or fibres, high added value can be generated from food residues/wastes. However, intensive extraction processes will be quite costly. In order to test the importance of high-end valorisation strategies, this report evaluates potential benefits and drawbacks, as well as favourable conditions for high-value food waste exploitation through a number of scenario studies, including cost-benefit analyses of converting tomato processing by-products to valuable food ingredients. This will help business stakeholders to understand which valorisation options in specific conditions are most relevant.
Food processing wastes/sidestreams can be exploited for high-value applications like extraction of bio-molecules (bioactive compounds such as carotenoids, phenolic compounds and other anti-oxidants essential oils, beta-glucans, volatiles…), polysaccharide, lignin and protein-based fibres, etc. Such extracts serve as functional ingredient and additives in food for shelf life extension, natural colouring, increasing the nutritional value and provide health-beneficial (dietary) properties in food. (Fritsch et al., 2017).
With an eye on the large volumes of food waste generated in Europe, the production potential for high-value materials is high. Still, valuable food ingredients are largely derived from dedicated crops and food wastes/by-products are still largely used in animal feed, landspread or discharged as waste.
This report shows the factors that determine when high value exploitation would be most successful. By means of a number of product examples we illustrate how situational conditions affect feasibility of such high-value exploitation options:
- input material price;
- extraction costs, specifically effect of scale (economies of scale: advantage of large-scale with respect to amongst others fixed capital and labour costs);
- market and prices for reference applications: the European feed market is a mature buyer of by-products (both liquid and dry) for animal feeds;
- logistic costs: small-scale processing may benefit from small scale size if the input material can be sourced locally in a small area; likewise short distance toward end-users can be advantageous.
In conclusion, this report demonstrates that the broadly recognized conception that food waste (more specially food processing side streams) are adequate sources for high value food ingredients can be realized in profitable business.
Broeze, J., Geerdink, P., Voogt, J., 2019: Food waste high value exploitation hypothesis testing. REFRESH Deliverable D6.12