Tuesday, December 8, 2015

What Are the Innovation Barriers of Food Waste Recovery?

The recovery of valuable compounds from food wastes is today one of the most emerging topics in the area of food science and sustainability. However, despite the omnipresence of related studies and patented methodologies, the market existing products derived from food wastes, are today rather limited. So, what are the barriers of making this trend really happen?
This is not a simple question met with a simple answer. Industrialization of such processes includes numerous issues such as laboratory research, transfer to pilot plan and full-scale production, protection of intellectual properties, development of definite applications, commercialization problems and in some cases approval of products’ health claims. These issues are necessary in order to ensure the sustainability of the process, the economic benefit for the involved food industry and the perpetual establishment of the derived products in the market.
For example, waste collection in the source is a critical problem that often requires additional transportation cost and control of microbial growth. Proper management of collection process, cooling/freezing of the material and/or addition of chemical preservatives can provide solutions at the particular case. Another complicated problem is the broad variation of target and non-target compounds from source-to-source. This fact affects the mass and energy balances as well as the functionality and the organoleptic character of the final products, especially in the case of more crude extracts. The above problem may be modified by adding a pre-treatment step. Besides, scale up of recovery processes meets the same limitations as any food manufacture procedure. Transition of batch to continuous processes is usually accompanied with extension of mixing and heating time, heavier handling, increased air incorporation and higher degree of scrutiny. All of these parameters generate numerous interactions and loss of product’s functionality. Subsequently, process cost is increased, as industrially recovered compounds are used in food formulations in higher concentrations compared to laboratory-recovered compounds.
Read the whole article in my Elsevier SciTech Connect Blog:

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