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Food Waste Recovery: Ways Out

By: , Posted on: December 18, 2015

Source: Flickr
Source: Flickr

Today, consumers are more aware of risks confronting them and increasingly display a preference for natural entities, which have been generated without human intervention. In addition, they require environmental-friendly food products that are closely tailored to their individual preferences and well-being. These aspects support the promotion of the so-called “green” marketing and quality assurance concepts, e.g. as “organic” and “Protected Designation of Origin” products. The food safety concerns, the health risks, the complexity of globalized food chains and the depletion of food resources create a challenging environment for food innovators. The commercialization of processes dealing with the recovery of valuable compounds from food wastes does not comprise an exception, as it faces important challenges that need integrated solutions.

In order to prevent stifling of innovation in the field from the strict regulations and accelerated safety concerns, and simultaneously address emerging wellness aspects, a new direction for developing and implementing scientific breakthroughs is required. In particular, the legislation challenges regulating health beneficial dietary products are lying to the specificity of the products, which have the characteristics of both food and biologically active ingredients. Thus, it would be advisable to clearly define the manufacturing and quality control criteria related to composition and content range of active substances as well as manufacturing development of the product. Currently, the manufacturer’s label typically provides only limited information about the origin and composition of the used extract in the final product formulation. Thus, a clearer label of the products containing recovered compounds would enable nutritionists and/or pharmacists to be more confident when recommending these products.

In addition, developing an industrial “open innovation” effort is of high priority and should be considered in the case of food waste recovery projects. At this case, all participants (university, industry, government and private sector) need to take a proactive role. For instance, since the policy of food waste reduction is among the high priorities in the agenda of governmental and supra-governmental bodies around the world, alternative ways out should be provided (e.g. reduced taxes or the establishment of a new label) in order to reveal the potentiality of recovering high added-value ingredients from food by-products and reutilizing them inside food chain. This label could be relevant to organic foods or similar to carbon emission labels or ecological footprint labels.

In general, the key point for the commercialization of food waste recovery projects is to develop a strategy that allows flexibility and provides alternative scenarios for each stage of processing. What is strongly recommended, is the implementation of non-thermal technologies, addition of green solvents and safer materials (possessing GRAS-status). The development of tailor-made applications for the recovered products (crude or highly purified) is necessary, too, as target compounds may not be as beneficial as proposed theoretically, and more importantly, it is difficult to survive competition in the market of functional foods. Therefore, investigations should include both recovery protocols and preservation assays. The latter parameters would ensure sustainability of the final product and industrial exploitation. To this prospect, it is very important to provide clean label ingredients for processed food products (e.g. natural preservatives, functional compounds), without impacting flavour or texture and while maintaining minimum shelf-life requirements. In addition, the development of the production line should be designed near, but not inside the food industries, in order to ensure minimum transportation and at the same time meet their HACCP requirements.

With regard to the recovery steps, cheaper methodologies are those containing less recovery stages. On the other hand, less recovery processes generate (in general) cruder products with lower concentrations of the target compounds. Subsequently, the functional properties of the developed products are diminished due to the co-extraction of other non-target ingredients. Product formation is the most essential step, as encapsulation enhances functionality and extents the shelf-life of the products. What is important to state, is that the final product should be precisely designed for a well-defined market. For instance, natural antioxidants to be used in fresh, mom-approved and kid-friendly foodstuff with clean ingredient lines and a minimum of 3-months refrigerated shelf-life. Unlike the needs to delight the consumer and minimize environmental impact, developers should also ensure that the final product and process meet particular specifications, as well as they are ready for commercial production. Modern new products should aim at the fulfillment of consumer needs and the realization of consumer value rather than at the development of products or enabling technologies per se. This is important to state due to the recently opened debate concerning the safety of products recovered from food wastes and the impact (beneficial or not) of recycling them inside food chain.

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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Food Science & Nutrition

The field of food science is highly interdisciplinary, spanning areas of chemistry, engineering, biology, and many more. Researchers in these areas achieve fundamental advances in our understanding of agriculture, nutrition, and food-borne illness, and develop new technologies, like food processing methods and packaging material. Against a backdrop of global issues of food supply and regulation, this important work is supported by Elsevier’s catalog of books, eBooks, and journals in food science, considered essential resources for students, instructors, and health professionals worldwide. Learn more about our Food Science and Nutrition books here.