Finicky eating habits and wasteful processes have led to a system that discards millions of tonnes of food each year, but new approaches are salvaging the scraps we never see to make products that people will want to eat. The EU Research & Innovation Magazine HORIZON published an article on how innovations from REFRESH and other projects offer different possibilities to valorise by-products from food production.

The HORIZON magazine mentions REFRESH as one of the projects aiming to keep more food from becoming waste. We currently produce enough food worldwide to feed 12 to 14 billion people, says REFRESH coordinator Toine Timmermans from Wageningen University & Research. But a mix of misaligned policies and incentives have created a situation in which the world produces far more food than it needs.

Modern food production creates huge trails of waste known as side streams — potato peels, carrot pulp, bits of bananas, apples and a multitude of other by-products. To date, few industrial applications for these side streams have found success.

As mentioned in the article, REFRESH research is exploring multiple angles to tackle food waste. One example is the use of steam exploded vegetable side streams as food ingredients, such as an extracted fibre from chicory to fortify breads, yoghurts and drinks.

There is growing appetite for these products both from businesses, which want to sell them, and from consumers, Timmermans explains.

If food production continues to evolve, our meals may be about to change dramatically. We might be nibbling on bread made from chicory fibre or swallowing spoonfuls of high fiber, protein-filled yoghurt. More information is covered in the news article in HORIZON Magazine.