Broccoli lattes? Creating healthy food products from ‘ugly’ produce

By MiNDFOOD

Young woman drinking healthy detox
Young woman drinking healthy detox

Who’d like a cup of trim flat green?

Green, nutrient-rich coffees may be on the horizon after researchers have developed a powder made from imperfect-looking broccoli that would have previously been wasted. While broccoli lattes might not be everyone’s cup of coffee, Hort Innovation chief executive John Lloyd says the powder could be used for smoothies, soups, baking and as a way of hiding broccoli from fussy kids in meals. “With a rising trend in healthy eating across the board, [farmers] are always looking at ways to diversify their products and cut waste while meeting consumer demand,” Lloyd says.

Lead researcher Mary Ann Augustin of CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, says that broccoli is high in protein, fibre and health-promoting bioactive phytochemicals, making it an ideal candidate for powder development. “The powders are an option for farmers who want to produce value-added vegetable ingredients for the lucrative functional food markets,” says Dr Augustin.

The powder has already been used for the production of snacks. The broccoli powder, and associated snacks, are being developed as part of a larger research and development project which aims to reduce vegetable waste by creating healthy food products from ‘ugly’ produce.

Food companies have had a long history of refusing to sell any fruit and veg that doesn’t meet very narrow cosmetic standards for size, shape and colour. This meant that misshapen carrots, bumpy tomatoes and blemished apples got thrown away, even if they were perfectly fresh and flavourful. However, as we begin to recognise the importance of reducing food waste, mainstream markets are beginning to sell more “ugly” produce – and consumers are buying it. This trend is set to gain even more momentum in 2019 and beyond – as are these other 2019 food trends.

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