Sustainability summits to focus on ingredients emerging from food waste

This year's sustainability summits will focus on ingredients created from food waste that can be used in food, nutraceuticals and personal care products.

Novel ingredients—created from food waste as new technologies improve extraction and processing methods—are finding new applications in food, nutraceuticals and personal care products, as will be shown at this year's sustainability summits.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, about one-third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted in the supply chain. With food companies and retailers under pressure to become more efficient and reduce losses, many are re-directing food waste from landfill.

A transition is occurring whereby waste previously going to low-end applications, such as animal feed and biogas, is making its way into new ingredients.

This year's Sustainable Foods Summits are scheduled for June 9-10 in Amsterdam, and June 29-30 in São Paulo.

The 2016 Sustainable Cosmetics Summits are scheduled for Sept. 14-16 in São Paulo; Oct. 24-26 in Paris; and Nov. 14-15 in Hong Kong.

For instance, the Swiss company FoodSolutionsTeam is using green chemistry to extract active materials from food side streams. Made from carrot pulp, its KaroPRO ingredient has water-binding applications in processed foods. The Swiss company has similar food ingredients made from organic linseed, peas and rice. Phytonext is another company using new extraction techniques to produce ingredients from citrus peel and tomato waste.  

The EU is also funding research to create new ingredients from food waste. The BIORICE project involves extracting starch from rice waste to make ingredients for functional foods, nutraceuticals and cosmetics. 

Another project, APROPOS, involves taking proteins from salmon and rapeseed waste for cosmetic applications. A Spanish cosmetics firm plans to use the novel extract as a foundation for a new cream product.

Such ingredients have already made headway in natural personal care products. The Marks & Spencer department store in Britain is using resveratrol from grape waste in its Super Grape skincare products. The grape waste is coming from the production of the retailer’s private-label wines. The French company Caudalie has built its entire range of natural personal care products from grapevine-based and grapeseed ingredients such as resveratrol and polyphenols. Organic Monitor research finds the brand leads the French natural cosmetics market; its products are now present in more than 30 countries.

With the global population projected to reach 9 billion by 2050 and agricultural land becoming increasingly scarce, more investment is expected in creating new ingredients from food waste. A recurring theme in the Sustainable Foods Summit and Sustainable Cosmetics Summit is ‘closing loops’ whereby waste materials find a new life in fresh applications. Organizations such as TerraCycle have been successful in closing the packaging loop for consumer products; it remains to be seen how soon waste from food streams will create better lives.

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