New Sugar Substitute Made from Food Waste

Kristin Toussaint wrote . . . . . . . . .

As more and more companies look to curb food waste, fruit scraps and ugly pieces of produce that once went into the compost bin or trash can are finding second lives. Juice pulp has been turned into popsicles, wonky veggies into soups, and now Dutch company Fooditive is turning leftovers from apples and pears, along with the pieces of fruit that are unfit for supermarkets, into a chemical-free sweetener.

Current sugar substitutes are considered a growing environmental hazard; artificial sweeteners such as sucralose and aspartame, found in Splenda and Equal, aren’t absorbed by our bodies nor are completely removed by wastewater treatment plants, meaning these sweeteners end up in rivers and oceans, potentially harming aquatic plant and animal life.

Regular cane sugar is the cause of global health problems, and its cultivation is taking an environmental toll, too, requiring intense water use and causing soil erosion and pollution from processing sugarcane. Natural sweeteners like honey have their own complications. Stevia, the natural sweetener derived from the Stevia rebaudiana plant, is known to have a bitter aftertaste, so beverage companies that use stevia often mix it with other artificial sweeteners.

Fooditive, founded by food scientist Moayad Abushokhedim, aims to be a natural alternative to those other sweetener options in a way that’s healthy for the planet and our own bodies. Fooditive takes third-grade apples and pears—those ones with brown spots or off colors, which wouldn’t be sold in a supermarket—from local Dutch farmers, along with some fruit scraps, and extracts the natural fructose through a fermentation process. The final result is a calorie-free sweetener without many of the concerns of both sugar and other sugar substitutes.

Beyond the sweetener, Fooditive also makes all-natural preserving agents for things like sauces, soups, and bakery items out of carrot waste, thickening agents from banana skins, and emulsifiers from potato extracts. The company is collaborating with Rotterdam Circulair, a Netherlands company focused on reusing and recycling waste, with the goal of establishing a circular economy in the city of Rotterdam by 2030.

“Our products really provide the food and beverage producers with the ability to have a clean label, a green label, and show people what’s in their food,” says Geiles. Right now, the company is working in the business-to-business market, partnering with a third-party food industry company called Bodec to get its sustainable sweetener into Dutch products. Geiles says it’s already being used by a Dutch beverage company, though he couldn’t name specific brands.

Fooditive is also registered in Sweden, and next Geiles says the company hopes to expand to other Nordic countries, Jordan (where founder Abushokhedim is from), and the United Kingdom. U.S. food regulations make the move stateside a bit difficult, but Geiles says they’re hoping to bring their sustainable products here as well.

Source: Fast Company

How To Reduce Food Waste

Allison Aubrey wrote . . . . . . . . .

Food waste is a huge problem in the United States. The good news: Each of us can help solve it.

Consider this: A typical household of four tosses out about $1,600 worth of food annually. Up to 40% of the food that’s produced never makes it to our mouths, and all this waste is enough to fill the highest skyscraper in Chicago 44 times a year, according to an estimate by the Department of Agriculture. Meanwhile, 1 in 8 Americans struggle with food scarcity.

Our discarded food often ends up in landfills, where it rots and then starts to emit methane — a greenhouse gas far more potent than carbon dioxide. A recent report from the United Nations panel on climate change estimates food waste accounts for as much as 10% of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions.

While many environmentally friendly practices — say, buying an electric car or installing solar panels — require an upfront investment, you can start saving immediately once you put in place these tips to reduce food waste.

Here are five simple ways to start reducing your food waste at home today.

1. Make a plan

Before you shop for groceries, think about exactly what you need for the week, make a list — and then stick to it.

Because let’s be honest, many of us are “aspirational shoppers” — we throw things in the cart that sound good or look novel, and then we let them sit in the back of the fridge for a few weeks.

When food does go bad, take stock: What are you already buying too much of? What are you always throwing away?

Just the act of adding up what you let go to waste can help change the way you think about your food. Then you can use that information to be a more conscious consumer during your next trip to the grocery store.

2. Get creative with repurposing food

Before walking straight to the trash with your soggy spinach or old carrots, ask yourself: Can I make this into something new?

According to chef and restaurant owner Tiffany Derry, the answer is probably yes. Derry says, you don’t need to follow any complicated recipes to turn older produce into a fresh new dish. (But if you want to try one, here’s a sweet recipe for your overripe avocados).

Here are some of her favorite hacks for wilted greens:

  • Saute them with some of your favorite spices — she suggests a little bit of onion and garlic.
  • Throw them in for some flavor in a soup or a sauce.
  • Putting mildly wilted greens in ice water may help perk them up.

Derry also says don’t toss out those excess leaves and stems. Stalks and stems (like from broccoli) often hold just as much nutrition and flavor as the rest of the food you eat. Roast them as a side or shave them for a salad. Also, leaves (like carrot tops) make for great pesto.

3. Your freezer is your friend

If you realize that you won’t be able to use food before it’s too late, turn to the trusty freezer.

“No one would throw away anything that had a two hundred dollar value to it,” says Katherine Miller, vice president of impact at the James Beard Foundation. “I mean, think about all the things, all the time that we spend trying to find lost things because they have value to us.”

Did you know you can freeze almost anything? Your bread, your grains, your fruits, your veggies — even your milk!

Freezing food helps lock in its flavor and nutrients, so the next time you find those perfect strawberries for your summer picnic, don’t toss the leftovers. Bag it, date it and put in the freezer for when that craving hits.

The same thing goes for those cooking scraps that don’t make it to the dinner table — freeze them and they can make a great base for broth.

If you want to know how long something lasts once you freeze it, this app and online database from the USDA are both good resources.

4. Don’t be fooled by that “sell by” date

For the most part, these labels are a best guess by manufacturers as to when their products will be freshest. They’re not hard-and-fast rules about when that cheese has to go straight to the trash.

And yet, that’s exactly what many of us do. It’s estimated that about 20% of the food waste in the U.S. can be attributed to “sell by” labels. In fact, this has become such a big issue that the Food and Drug Administration is urging the food industry to change its packaging language to help consumers understand that these labels are about quality, not about food safety.

The next time you do a sweep of your pantry, remember that these dates are guidelines, not mandates. When in doubt, do a smell test. If it doesn’t pass, it’s time to move on to our next tip.

5. Compost, compost, compost

Composting is simple. Think of it as a way of recycling your food scraps. Instead of tossing your food waste into landfills and contributing to the greenhouse gas problem, your decomposing food helps to create nutrient-rich soils and prevent the release of methane.

Your compost-ready food scraps can be contained in your freezer, and then you can discard them at a compost collection site. Some cities have designated areas; others will come and collect from the curb; others might have collection areas at farmers’ markets.

For more on getting started with your own composting, you can read the Environmental Protection Agency’s guide to composting at home and for business.

Source: npr

Danish Organisation Aims to Reduce Food Waste with New ‘Best Before’ System

New labelling on food packaging could help consumers in Denmark to cut down on food waste.

The new marking on a variety of products will change the way ‘best before’ information is given, accommodating products that can often be consumed after their store ‘sell-by’ dates.

The words ‘often good after’ (‘ofte god efter’) will be used on products including milk, beer and chocolate, according to Too Good To Go, an app that has developed the scheme in partnership with a number of food producers.

Companies including Carlsberg, Unilever, Løgismose Meyers, Arla, Coop, Thise, Toms and Urtekram are among those who have agreed to try the new labelling.

Selina Juul, founder of NGO Stop Wasting Food, said that current labelling on foods can confuse consumers.

“Many in Denmark think that ‘best before’ means ‘worst after’ and throw food out to be on the safe side. This scheme contributes to better knowledge about food products and thereby reduces food waste,” Juul said in a press statement released by Too Good To Go.

Another phrase, ‘use by’ (‘sidste anvendelsesdato’), is used on products where consumption after that date would constitute a health risk, while ‘best before’ (‘bedst før’) is advisory and used with products which do not constitute a health risk after their sell-by dates, but must be assessed before use.

Danish dairy giant Arla has begun to use the new labelling on its Arla 24-mælk product, and plans to extend it to other products.

“It is very clear that, for large families, this might not mean so much, because many litres of milk are drunk every day,” Arla Denmark CEO Jakob Knudsen said.

“But for small households, this is important information to have, because milk might be left in the refrigerator for several days. And it has a longer lifetime than the ‘best before’ which is written on it,” Knudsen said.

The Danish Agriculture & Food Council also said it supported the project.

“This addition is likely to help many of the consumers who are not aware that ‘best before’ is not the same as ‘use by’. And therefore throw out food which has reached its ‘best before’ date,” area director Klaus Jørgensen said in a written statement.

“But our support is conditional upon this being done in close coordination with businesses and on a voluntary basis,” Jørgensen added.

Source: The Local

Read also:

‘Best before, often good after’: Unilever adopts anti-food waste labels on food packaging . . . . .

Toronto Restaurant Fights Waste By Chopping Menu Prices Till Food Is Gone

Jonathan Bloom wrote . . . . . . . . .

It’s 3:51 p.m., and chef Ashley MacNeil is busy planning how to run out of food. Sunday brunch service has ended at Toronto’s Farmhouse Tavern, and she has already cubed and deep-fried the morning’s excess biscuits into croutons to adorn tonight’s house salad. Now she is fretting over an excess of shaved Brussels sprouts, which isn’t something she wants to freeze. She sighs and hopes it’ll be a big salad night.

MacNeil eyes the shimmering skin-on fillets of trout. Fourteen will be enough for tonight’s Fish Dish entree, she decides, and she asks one of her cooks to double wrap and freeze six, which she’ll later cure into gravlax. “You want to run out, but you want to make sure that you have enough of a selection so people come back,” says MacNeil, 34. “It’s a weird teeter-totter game.”

That game begins around 5 p.m., as the horseshoe-shape restaurant begins to fill with diners ordering “buck a shuck,” or 1 Canadian dollar ($0.74) oysters. The promotion is just one of eight hourly food and drink discounts designed to attract and retain customers on Sunday evenings. The goal is to sell out of perishable food and open bottles of wine so that Farmhouse can shut up shop with an empty refrigerator for the three consecutive days, when it is closed. Oh, and this weekly event is called F*** Mondays.

Come again? The strong language stems from owner Darcy MacDonell’s lifelong dread of the coming workweek and how, in the restaurant business, quiet Sundays lead to either throwing away food or freezing it. Because he is adamant that “freshness is omnipotent,” refrigerating unserved items and corking wine bottles are not options.

That philosophy led MacDonell to create Farmhouse’s compelling offer: Come thumb your nose at Monday by enjoying an affordable evening that’ll help us finish our food and drink.

A table of three women, having arrived at 4 p.m., is doing its very best to help out. “We came for the $4 Caesars,” says Andi Wheelband, 36, referring to a Canadian bloody mary-like drink. “And then one Caesar turned into two Caesars, which turned into oysters and a bottle of white wine.”

As afternoon turns into evening, Wheelband and her friends order two half-price appetizers and pints of beer on special for CA$6 ($4.47). By 8 p.m., they are ready to share a few half-price entrees — the short rib pasta for CA$10 ($7.45) and the Fish Dish for CA$12 ($8.94). All three women have work in the morning, but — Monday be damned — at 9 p.m. they’re discussing which glass of wine to sample next.

At that exact hour, says bartender Riley MacLean, 29, “any open wine is [CA]$9 per glass [$6.70]. It’s pretty easy to steer people toward the open wines when you tell them it’s [nearly] half price” for some bottles.

Despite a casual environment — waiters wear mismatched T-shirts, and the decor leans toward cowhide banquettes and photographs from the MacDonell family’s Ontario dairy farm — Farmhouse is not cheap, and Toronto is not an inexpensive city. MacDonell is adamant about serving premium local food and drink, and that comes at a cost — which makes the deep discounts of F*** Mondays even more compelling.

Farmhouse relies on chalkboard menus, the better to cross off dishes as the night wears on. On Sunday, there’s eighty-sixing on the central board. When that happens, all eyes turn to the server reaching over or around diners to cross off an item. “There are definitely noticeable sighs, and guests vocalize their heartbreak when they miss out,” says MacDonell.

Those dramatic erasures also create some urgency. A young artist couple, Candace Bell and Anthony Ficaro, voice two of those sighs as the carrot tartare appetizer disappears from the board. Their dismay is short-lived, though, and they switch to the bone marrow appetizer to accompany an order of 36 oysters. “That things could run out makes us order faster,” says Bell, 34, a Sunday regular. “That’s part of the deal when you come out on a Sunday. It’s a bit of a gamble.”

Another duo arrives at 8:50 p.m. and rushes over to the blackboard just as the Duck, Duck, Goose! is crossed off. They order a dozen oysters, bone marrow, foie gras, tomato tagliatelle and the Fish Dish. The dwindling supply is sparking demand. “We started to see the good stuff was going away, so we ordered quickly,” says Tara Veysey, who comes once a month with her husband, Charles. “We end up ordering more because of the specials, but we’d come here anyway.”

Farmhouse is comfortable striking dishes from its chalkboard menu any night. Yet the price for other restaurants that refuse to run out is either unfresh food, abundant waste — or both. A recent study found that restaurants, hotels and institutions are responsible for 13 percent of avoidable Canadian food waste. The U.S. restaurant sector generates 18 percent of U.S. food waste, at a cost of roughly $25 billion annually.

MacDonell, who learned to loathe waste while growing up on his family’s farm, implemented F*** Mondays upon opening Farmhouse in June 2012. “It became clear that we would likely always struggle to get diners in after a certain point on Sunday evenings,” he says, with the restaurant located in a hip, but family-filled, neighborhood called The Junction. “I hate freezing stuff, and I hate throwing food out, so we needed to find a solution that would help us use up as much as we could before closing for three days.”

By 9:30 p.m., the kitchen has closed, and MacNeil is pleased with her nearly empty fridge. There’s still an abundance of shaved Brussels sprouts — it turned out not to be a big salad night — but she plans to pickle them early next week. Most of the garnishes were already pickled and will store. Aside from about 8 ounces of chimichurri sauce that won’t be as bright in four days, Farmhouse wasted no food on this Sunday and virtually no food the rest of the week. What the restaurant didn’t manage to use went into its green city compost bin.

That’s no small feat, given that Farmhouse fed upwards of 70 people this evening. “It does take a certain amount of managing and mental energy, but it’s worth it when, at the end of the night, there’s virtually no food left,” says MacDonell.

There is another reward aside from that satisfaction. At 10:32 p.m., the staff — bartender, chef, cooks, servers and dishwasher — congregates at the bar to finish off wine bottles that are less than half full. “It’ll be a quick one, because we’re all pretty sick of each other by this point,” MacNeil quips.

The next morning, MacNeil will process the croutons into breadcrumbs, a garnish for a Thursday dish she has, on Sunday, yet to conceptualize. Such decisions are better left for later. “That’s a Monday thought,” she says with a smile.

Source: npr

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