Upcycling Food Waste into Fiber-rich Flour

Jeff Gelski wrote . . . . . . . . .

Trends are converging when it comes to food waste and functional flour innovation. Companies are turning green bananas, coffee cherries and soybean pulp/okara — all examples of food waste — into flour for use in blends, including gluten-free blends. Flour with higher fiber levels is one of several health benefits.

About 20% of the world’s bananas grown for the fresh market goes to waste, said Maurice “Mo” Moragne, chief executive officer of International Agriculture Group, L.L.C., Mooresville, N.C.

“That’s because of the exacting retail standards for quality on the fresh fruit side,” he said. “The product has to have a certain angle curvature. It can’t be too thick, can’t be too long. Those specifications cause waste on the farm level. We’re able to go into the small family farms and take that material so the family can make a good wage.”

International Agriculture Group sources bananas from Colombia and Ecuador that normally would be left to waste. The company turns those bananas into its NuBana green banana flour.

The green bananas contain more starch than traditional bananas sold at retail because enzymes have yet to turn the starch into sugar. NuBana flour contains resistant starch type 2, which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said meets its fiber definition. One flour, NuBana RS65 green banana flour, features 65% resistant starch.

NuBana flour works in baked foods, pasta, baby foods and liquified foods such as sauces, Mr. Moragne said.

“It works wonderfully in gluten-free flour applications,” he said, adding NuBana can make up as much as 30% of gluten-free flour blends. NuBana has made up between 10% to 30% of other flour blends.

Mr. Moragne and his business partners — Julio Vasquez, David Skea and Umberto Wedderburn — all previously worked at Chiquita Brands International, Inc. before founding International Agriculture Group.

International Agriculture Group this year plans to launch a new product. A patent-pending process created the product from green banana flour that looks and tastes like chocolate cocoa, but with almost double the potassium available in chocolate.

Upcycled ingredients

The term “upcycled” pertains to finding a functional use for what otherwise is waste material. Renewal Mill, Oakland, Calif., upcycles okara, a byproduct of soy milk production, into ingredients. Claire Schlemme, chief executive officer, founded the company after she found out a soy milk manufacturer had about 15,000 lbs of pulp waste/okara a week.

Renewal Mill takes the wet okara, places it into a dehydration unit and dries it into a shelf-stable product. The dried okara then is ground into a high-protein, high-fiber flour.

The okara differs from soy flour in that soy flour uses the whole soybean, said Caroline Cotto, chief operating officer for Renewal Mill. The okara/pulp, because it does not use the whole soybean, is light in color and neutral in taste and flavor. It does not have a “beany” soybean flavor.

The okara flour may be used in sweet and savory applications, pasta, biscuit mixes, cookies, sauces, pizza dough and extruded puff snacks. It is gluten-free and may be used up to 25% in flour blends. Renewal Mill has made crispy coconut cookies using okara as the sole source of flour.

Renewal Mill last year participated in a Techstars’ Farm to Fork accelerator program in St. Paul, Minn., run by Cargill. Minneapolis-based Cargill formed a partnership with Renewal Mill after the program ended. Renewal Mill also is looking to upcycle pistachio shells, potato pulp, almond meal and pomace from grapes and olives.

The term “upcycled” also was heard recently during a presentation at the American Society of Baking’s BakingTech 2019 in Chicago.

The Coffee Cherry Co., Bellevue, Wash., has found a functional use for coffee cherries, which are mostly skin and some pulp that protect coffee beans inside, said Carole Widmayer, senior vice-president of sales and marketing. When the beans are removed, the fruit normally is discarded into fields or streams. The Coffee Cherry Co. upcycles the coffee cherries by drying and milling them into flour that may be incorporated at a level of 12% to 15% in gluten-free flour blends. The coffee cherry flour, which is more than 50% fiber along with iron, potassium and magnesium, works well in other flour blends, too, she said.

Dan Kurzrock, co-founder of ReGrained, San Francisco, spoke about the company’s SuperGrain+ ingredient at the A.S.B. event. The company turns brewers’ spent grains into the trademark flour that is high in protein and fiber. Typically, SuperGrain+, which is high in prebiotic fiber, may make up 15% to 25% of flour blends, but the percentage has reached as high as 40%, he said.

Food ingredient start-up Planetarians, Palo Alto, Calif., upcycles defatted sunflower seeds, a byproduct of vegetable oil extraction, into flour. The company has partnered with Barilla Group, Parma, Italy, to explore bakery applications for the flour, which has three times the protein and twice the fiber of wheat flour, according to Planetarians.

Although not a byproduct, chickpeas offer health and sustainability benefits. Chickpeas create their own fertilizer by fixing nitrogen from the air, which means lower use of chemical fertilizers, according to PLT Health Solutions, Morristown, N.J. The company, through a partnership with Nutriati, Inc., Richmond, Va., offers Artesa chickpea flour, which is a source of protein and has a low glycemic index and a white color.

Natural Products, Inc., Grinnell, Iowa, offers steamed chickpea flour (CP 100-S), which is 18% protein. The proprietary steaming process removes the beany flavor that would be found in a raw product.

“N.P.I.’s steamed chickpea flour offers a very clean flavor profile without taking away from the nutrition of the whole chickpea itself,” said Rob Thomas, account manager. “Anything that can be said about the nutrition of the whole chickpea can be said about our steamed chickpea flour.”

Steamed chickpea flour has been shown to work as the primary flour in many gluten-free applications, pizza crust, cookies, pasta, pastry, muffins, waffles, pancakes, cream cakes and crackers. Meat-binders, pudding and beverages are other application options.

“Our findings are that other gluten-free flours like almond, rice and tapioca work well with chickpea flour and should be considered in the development of gluten-free flour blends,” he said.

Source: Food Business News

Chicken Noisettes with Pesto Filling


4 slices bacon
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons melted butter

Pesto Filling
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small bunch fresh parsley or basil
seasonal vegetables to serve


  1. To make the pesto filling, combine all the filling ingredients and bacon trimmings in a food processor and process for 1 minute to make a paste.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  3. Trim each slice of bacon to the same size as the chicken breast halves. Reserve the trimmings.
  4. Gently flatten the chicken with a meat tenderizer. Drizzle with the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Lay out the chicken breast halves. Spread each breast with a quarter of the filling. Roll up the chicken. Wrap a bacon slice around each noisette, overlapping the ends. Insert a wooden skewer through the overlap and the center of each noisette.
  6. Butter a baking dish.
  7. Place the noisettes in the prepared dish and brush with melted butter.
  8. Bake until golden brown and cooked through, about 30 minutes.
  9. Slice each noisette and serve hot with vegetables.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Source: Modern Mediterranean Cooking

In Pictures: Quick Home-made Meals Packed with Protein

Veggie Spaghetti and Meatballs

Tuna and Cheddar Wraps

Baked Breaded Sole With Baby Potatoes and Broccoli

Grilled Ahi Tuna Over Mashed Cauliflower

Turkey Tacos

Spinach Tomato Frittata

Study: Dietary Cholesterol or Egg Consumption Do Not Increase the Risk of Stroke

A new study from the University of Eastern Finland shows that a moderately high intake of dietary cholesterol or consumption of up to one egg per day is not associated with an elevated risk of stroke. Furthermore, no association was found in carriers of the APOE4 phenotype, which affects cholesterol metabolism and is remarkably common among the Finnish population. The findings were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Findings from earlier studies addressing the association of dietary cholesterol or egg intake with the risk of stroke have been contradictory. Some studies have found an association between high dietary cholesterol intake and an increased risk of stroke, while others have associated the consumption of eggs, which are high in cholesterol, with a reduced risk of stroke. For most people, dietary cholesterol plays a very small role in affecting their serum cholesterol levels. However, in carriers of the apolipoprotein E phenotype 4 – which significantly impacts cholesterol metabolism – the effect of dietary cholesterol on serum cholesterol levels is greater. In Finland, the prevalence of APOE4, which is a hereditary variant, is exceptionally high, with approximately one third of the population presenting as carriers. Yet, research data on the association between a high intake of dietary cholesterol and the risk of stroke in this population group has not been available until now.

The dietary habits of 1,950 men aged between 42 and 60 years with no baseline diagnosis of a cardiovascular disease were assessed at the onset the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study, KIHD, in 1984–1989 at the University of Eastern Finland. APOE phenotype data were available for 1,015 of the men participating in the study. Of those, 32% were known carriers of APOE4.

During a follow-up of 21 years, 217 men were diagnosed with stroke. The study found that neither dietary cholesterol nor egg consumption was associated with the risk of stroke – not even in carriers of APOE4.

The findings suggest that moderate cholesterol intake or daily egg consumption are not associated with the risk of stroke, even in persons who are genetically predisposed to a greater effect of dietary cholesterol on serum cholesterol levels. In the highest control group, the study participants had an average daily dietary cholesterol intake of 520 mg and they consumed an average of one egg per day, which means that the findings cannot be generalised beyond these levels. One egg contains approximately 200 mg of cholesterol. In this study, about a fourth of the total dietary cholesterol consumed came from eggs. Furthermore, the generalisability of this study is also weakened by the fact that the study population did not have a pre-existing cardiovascular disease at baseline and the size of the study population was relatively small. Therefore, the findings of the study should be verified in a larger cohort as well as in people with a pre-existing cardiovascular disease, who are currently advised to limit their intake of cholesterol and eggs.

Source: University of Eastern Finland

Too Much Screen Time Tied to School Problems Even in Little Kids

Lisa Rapaport wrote . . . . . . . . .

Kindergarteners who get more than two hours of screen time a day may be more likely to have behavior and attention problems in school than their classmates who spend less time in front of televisions, smartphones and tablets, a Canadian study suggests.

Doctors urge parents of young kids to limit screen time or avoid it altogether because all of those hours watching videos or gaming have been linked to slowed development of speech and language, fine and gross motor skills, and social and behavioral skills. After all, time spent in front of screens means less time for scribbling with crayons or playing games that help kids learn how to kick a ball or take turns.

In the current study, researchers surveyed parents of more than 2,400 Canadian kids to assess screen time at three and five years. The second assessment also asked about behavior problems like inattention and aggressiveness as well as issues like sleep difficulties, depression, and anxiety.

Very few five-year-olds had these problems: just 1.2 percent of kids had so-called “externalizing” behavior problems like aggression or inattention and just 2.5 percent had “internalizing” problems like depression and anxiety.

But compared to kids who got less than a half hour of screen time daily, children who had more than two hours daily had an almost six-fold greater risk of attention problems and an almost eight-fold greater risk of meeting the criteria for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

“It is never too early to talk to your child about limiting screen time,” senior study author Dr. Piush Mandhane of the University of Alberta in Canada said by email.

Canadian guidelines recommend that parents limit screen time to less than one hour a day for children two to four years old and less than two hours daily for older kids, researchers note in Plos One.

At age three, kids in the study exceeded these limits, getting an average of 1.5 hours a day of screen time. They got slightly less – 1.4 hours a day – by age five.

Overall, almost 14 percent of kids had more than two hours a day of screen time.

It’s possible that some kids in the study who already had challenges with behavior or social skills opted to spend more time in front of screens because they struggled to relate to peers.

The study also wasn’t a controlled experiment designed to prove whether or how screen time might cause behavior problems.

“This study does not draw any conclusion about certain types or contexts of media use being better for child development than others,” said Andrew Ribner, a psychology researcher at New York University who wasn’t involved in the research.

“However, other research has suggested screen time that has a slower pace, is relatively less fantastical, and provides some kind of contingent responsiveness — something like Sesame Street or Dora the Explorer rather than Spongebob Squarepants — is better than the alternative,” Ribner said by email.

Fast-paced digital media can precondition little ones to expect unnatural stimulation, leading to shorter attention spans because real life can seem slow and underwhelming by comparison, said Dr. Dimitri Christakis, director of the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Research Institute.

“We also know from decades of research that real, human interaction and play is critical to cognitive and social development,” Christakis, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email. “Even if it were ‘harmless,’ the time spent on digital devices displaces these interactions.”

Beyond just limiting screen time, parents should concentrate on creating screen-free times in children’s daily routines, said Dr. Jenny Radesky of the C. S. Mott Children’s Hospital at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

“The more important thing is reducing tech distractions during meals, when playing solo or together, and before bedtime – and not giving in to every moment of boredom or whining with tech use,” Radesky, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email. “It’s so important for children to learn how to handle big feelings, tolerate boredom, and settle themselves down at night.”

Source: Reuters

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