Innovation with vegetable and fruit waste

Vegetable and fruit waste are raw materials for developing new products. That was the most important statement at the BioBoost seminar organised by BioBoost partner NIAB in Cambridge, on 10 November last. The main goal of this seminar was sharing knowledge and experience in the economic utilisation of green horticultural waste flows.

Various studies have shown that over 30% of good quality agricultural and horticultural products are thrown away or wasted during production, transport, sale or a lack of use by consumers. Reusing this waste and wasting food as little as possible: those were the themes of the seminar organised by NIAB. During the seminar, representatives of the William Jackson Food Group, the supermarket chain Sainsbury’s and growers and knowledge institutions from the Netherlands, Belgium and the UK shared their vision on limiting food waste and growing, producing and using resources more efficiently within supply chains. The seminar was organised as part of the BioBoost programme. Within BioBoost, Belgian, British and Dutch knowledge institutions, businesses and governments work together to give a boost to sustainability and the circular economy.

Several organisations showed which innovations are not only possible, but also contribute to sustainability. An example of this is the Belgian college VIVES, which researches the suitability of various horticultural waste flows as a food source for farming insects. These insects, such as the Black Soldier Fly or mealworms, can be interesting sources of protein for the food and animal food industry. Additionally, Vives has already developed several products from waste flows. Such as the ‘Wonky’ dip, which is established from waste flows by packaging and processing industries.  
NIAB, the seminar’s organiser, presented the initial results of their study on utilising plant and mushroom waste for the creation of natural pesticides. Even though more research is required before these products will become widely available, the results are promising.

Fibres in building materials
BioBoost also includes activities on better and more efficiently using the materials wasted when growing crops. One example is the use of tomato plant fibres in building materials. Other parties are looking into new applications of resources, such as using Dioscorea against obesity or developing natural pesticides from soft fruit waste.

BioBoost seminar