The valorization of by-products is at the origin of a major movement underway in agriculture and agri-food. Indeed, many solutions are being put in place, especially by startups, to recycle elements that are usually left out during production. For example, when squeezing fruit juices, there is a lot of skin, bark, and fiber-rich pulp left. Numerous studies have been carried out to reincorporate these fruit pulps into biscuits and snacks.
Similarly, sugar producers obtain a large proportion of material made up of beet or cane pulp. These substrates are being studied by some companies to extract interesting functional fibers such as pectin to gel products. The major cheese industries, for their part, are trying to add value to the whey produced by their process. It is used in animal feed, to make energy, to produce lactose, lactulose (used in pharmacy), alcohol and organic acids such as lactic acid for example.
All sectors of the agri-food industry are impacted. For example, coffee grounds are also recycled by several companies to make coffee oil, compost for mushroom cultivation as well as to produce energy.
The world of brewers is also very targeted because several elements resulting from the manufacture of beer can be reused. For example, brewers’ spent grains, made up of cereals used to provide malt and therefore sugars, are offered in the form of powders to be incorporated into flours and to make bread, pasta and other cereal products. Other companies recover brewer’s yeasts, after fermentation, to extract ingredients for the food industry (proteins/fibres), food supplements and cosmetics. There is a higher level of processing than these uses of co-products, and that is fermentation. Several companies use a wide variety of substrates from co-products/waste from the food industry to ferment them and obtain new ingredients or consumables. This is the case for meat, fish and seafood substitutes, some of which are produced using yeasts, bacteria or fungi that digest and transform these co-products into vegetarian products or new ingredients that can be incorporated into the recipes of our daily food products (vegan or not). Science 2 Food is fortunate to work with several companies that work on “upcycling”, which is the act of recovering unused or unusable products in order to transform them in order to give them a new use with a higher quality.