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Food Waste Recovery Trends in 2016: Research, Innovation, Commercialization and Funding

By: , Posted on: January 21, 2016

Recovering Food Waste. Source: Wikimedia


Over the last years, the number of published studies dealing with the valorization of processing by-products has been rapidly increased. This is proved by the numerous special issues organized by important Journals, such as these organized by Food Research International: (i) Recovery and utilization of valuable compounds from food processing by-products and (ii) Byproducts from agri-food industry: new strategies for their revalorization.

Following information received by individual members of Food Waste Recovery Group (SIG5) of ISEKI Food Association, more studies dealing not only with the recovery of valuable compounds from food waste, but also with their application in particular food and other products will be published within 2016. Moreover, proof-of-concept projects (e.g. sustainable plant ingredients for healthier meat products) targeting to establish health benefits of relevant products have been funded and are expected to launch their first results soon.

Following EU’s and other countries’ growing interest and funding policy promoting bio-based products and industries, the biorefinery approach is placed in a central role, too. Taking into account the impressive interest of the food science community in the above subjects, it is rather clear that new, emerging and more subject-targeted reference tools are needed. SIG5 works to this direction and plans to launch new initiatives within 2016.

Innovation & Commercialization Efforts

During food waste recovery book editing, only 35 companies with related products were identified around the world. Many of them have not been fully commercialized yet or were in an early stage of development. These products include dietary fibers from vegetable waste, proteins from cheese whey, fish oil from fishery by-products, lycopene from tomato waste, proanthocyanidins and oil from grape seeds, polyphenols from pine bark, keratin from chicken feathers, sugar and flavonoids syrup from citrus peel, protein from meat processing by-products and fish skin, yeast extract and lactic acid from sugar beet pulp, albumin from soy protein isolate wastewater, chitosan from shrimp shells and others. After publishing the book, we find out that there are much more companies activated in the field. This gap was created not only by the lack of available information (due to companies’ secrecy policy), but also due to the fast growing applications in the field.

Nowadays, more and more companies try to recover compounds from food wastes, whereas the 2016-trends include antioxidants from olive mill wastewater, grape and coffee processing by-products among others. Funded industrial projects are also under development. For instance, PUReOPE (developed under the EU Eco-Innovation funding frame) develops a methodology for the extraction of high-value phenolic compounds from process waste in brewing, brewing, distilling, malting and cereals production sectors. Whey2Value project (under the EU SME-Instrument frame) deals with a well-studied by-product: cheese whey. This project aims to bring to market a unique patent-pending eco-innovation bioprocess to utilize acid waste whey as a primary ingredient for microbial fermentation to produce sustainable high value product. Its key objective is to launch production of organic vitamin B12 on the market through eco-innovative technology, which uses waste whey as input substrate and produces as a result high value product vitamin B12 and purified water.

Funding Trends & Opportunities

The vision of the EU, as expressed in the Europe 2020 strategy, is to achieve sustainable and safe food systems. In addition, the interest of European Union to reduce waste via valorisation techniques is enormous. For instance, European Parliament declared 2014 as the “European Year against Food Waste” with an ultimate goal to support the reduction of food waste and raise public awareness on the issue. Subsequently, funding for this kind of activities will be increased over the next years, giving priorities to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that are activated within the frame of “bio-based industries”.

Relevant EU-calls for 2016 include:

  • SPIRE-03-2016: Industrial technologies for the valorisation of European bio-resources into high added value process streams [total budget: 74,000,000€ for 6 SPIRE actions, deadline: 21 January 2016 (single stage)]
  • BIOTEC-06-2017: Optimisation of biocatalysis and downstream processing for the sustainable production of high value-added platform chemicals [budget: 48,000,000€, submission deadline: 11 May 2016 (first stage), 27 October 2016 (second stage)]
  • SFS-19-2016: ERA-NET Cofund: Public-Public Partnerships in the bioeconomy  [budget: 15,000,000€, deadline: 17 February 2016 (single stage)]
  • SMEInst-07-2016-2017: Stimulating the innovation potential of SMEs for sustainable and competitive agriculture, forestry, agri-food and bio-based sectors [budget: 28,973,605€, deadline: 24 February, 03 May, 07 September, 09 November and 15 February 2017 (multi cut-off)]
  • SMEInst-11-2016-2017: Boosting the potential of small businesses in the areas of climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials [budget: 22,500,000€, deadline: 24 February, 03 May, 07 September, 09 November 2016 and 15 February 2017(multi cut-off)]
  • CIRC-01-2016-2017: Systemic, eco-innovative approaches for the circular economy: large-scale demonstration projects [budget: 60,000,000€, deadline: 08 March and 06 September 2016 (two-stage)].
  • CIRC-05-2016: Unlocking the potential of urban organic waste [budget: 3,000,000€, deadline: 08 March 2016 (single stage)].
  • SPIRE-07-2017: Integrated approach to process optimisation for raw material resources efficiency, excluding recovery technologies of waste streams [total budget: 80,000,000€ for 6 SPIRE actions, deadline: 19 January 2017 (single stage)]
  • BB-06-2016: The regional dimension of bio-based industries [budget: 1,000,000€, deadline: 17 February 2016 (single stage)]
  • SFS-40-2017: Sweeteners and sweetness enhancers [budget: 9,000,000€, deadline: 14 February and 13 September 2017 (two-stage)]
  • SFS-42-2017: NATURAL: Natural Foods and Clean Labels [not announced yet]
  • RR-7-2016/2017: Creating added value from waste and by-products generated on farm and along the value-chain [not announced yet]
  • WASTE-2017 calls [not announced yet]

The bioeconomy strategy in USA has many differences compared to the European one, as it includes research and innovations in spite of genetically modified crops. Bioeconomy trends include biodegradable plastics from biomass, improving biofuel and bioenergy crops, as well as developing innovative approaches to new biofuels feedstock. In addition, bio- and chemical-based catalytic processes are expected to play a greater role in the future of agriculture. The USDA predicts that two types of biorefineries will emerge: those that use microbial catalysts to directly convert feedstock (sugar or lipid) into a vast array of commercially valuable products, and those that are feedstock-agnostic and produce a single chemical intermediate, such as lactic acid or glycerol, for later conversion into final products. Relevant USA-calls can be found here.

About the Book

Food Waste Recovery: Processing Technologies and Industrial Techniques acts as a guide to recover valuable components of food by-products and recycle them inside the food chain, in an economic and sustainable way. The book investigates all the relevant recovery issues and compares different techniques to help you advance your research and develop new applications. Strong coverage of the different technologies is included, while keeping a balance between the characteristics of current conventional and emerging technologies. This is an essential reference for research outcomes. Click here for figures as they relate to the development and recovery strategy.

Key features of the book include:

food waste recovery• Presents a holistic methodology (the so-called “5-Stages Universal Recovery Process”) and a general approach (the so-called “Universal Recovery Strategy”) to ensure optimized management of the available technologies and recapture of different high added-value compounds from any waste source
• Includes characteristics, safety and cost issues of conventional and emerging technologies, the benefits of their application in industry, and commercialized applications of real market products
• Demonstrates all aspects of the recovery process such as preservation of the substrate, yield optimization, preservation of functionality of the target compounds during processing, and more

Visit the Elsevier Store to purchase your copy today. Use discount code “STC215″ at checkout and save up to 30%!

About the Editor

charis galanakisCharis M. Galanakis is a dynamic and interdisciplinary scientist with a fast-expanding work that balances between food and environment, industry and academia. His research targets mainly the separation and recovery of functional macro- and micro-molecules from different food by-products, as well as their implementation as additives in food and other products. He is the research & innovation director of Galanakis Laboratories (Chania, Greece), the co-founder of Phenoliv AB (Lund, Sweden) and the coordinator of Special Interest Group 5 of ISEKI Food Association (Vienna, Austria), which is the biggest network worldwide in the field of Food Waste Recovery. He serves as an editorial board member and subject editor of Food and Bioproducts Processing and Food Research International.

Follow Dr. Galanakis via Twitter – @CharisGalanakis, LinkedIn or ResearchGate.
Meet Dr. Galanakis at the Food Waste Recovery Workshop, join the Food Waste Recovery & Innovation 2020 group on LinkedIn or the Food Waste Recovery Page on Facebook.


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