The prospect of recovering valuable compounds from food by-products is a story that started few decades ago. For instance, solvent extraction had been applied to recover oil from olive kernels, which are one of the by-products derived from olive oil production.
Today, olive kernels are considered an established commodity similarly to olive fruit, whereas researchers focus on the recovery of polyphenols from olive mill wastewater. Indeed, at least 5 companies around the world have commercialized polyphenols recovery from olive mill wastewater and merchandise them as additives in foods, cosmetics and nutraceuticals.
Other examples include protein concentrates and sugar derivatives from cheese whey, dietary fibre from vegetable waste, fish oil from fishery by-products, lycopene from tomato waste, keratin from chicken feathers, flavonoids syrup from citrus peel, anthocyanins and oil from grape pomace and seeds, etc.
A commercially feasible product can be generated only if a certain degree of flexibility and alternative choices can be adapted in the developing methodology. Experience has shown that a project focused on the recovery technologies without investigating and establishing particular applications is doomed to fail because the final product might not be as beneficial as initially expected. In addition to these challenges, regulatory issues should be carefully addressed.
Do you also have a food processing by-product or food waste for valorisation? Do you want to get an external perspective on its potentiality as a bioresource, e.g. to produce functional foods, compost or biofuels?
Making an idea happen is about more than the extraction technologies. We can help in many relevant areas: sustainability, recovery strategy, open innovation, project management, barriers and ways out, market possibilities etc.