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Historical document

Innovative approaches to adding value to vegetable waste - phase 2 (MT06053)

Key research provider: Simplot Australia Pty Ltd - Victoria
Publication date: May, 2008

This is a final research report from Hort Innovation’s historical archives. Please note that as these reports may date back as far as the 1990s, the content and recommendations within them may be superseded by more recent research.

What was it all about?

The Australian vegetable processing industry was under increasing pressure from low cost alternatives, such as frozen broccoli florets from China, canned and frozen sweet corn from Thailand, and frozen peas and potatoes from New Zealand. Processing companies and their growers were looking at all areas of the supply chain for opportunities to improve efficiency. Adding value to the large volume of waste associated with vegetable and potato processing was a focus for Simplot Australia Ltd., and it had joined with Hort Innovation (which was then Horticulture Australia Limited) to fund a project: “Innovative approaches to adding value to vegetable waste”. This was the second of a three phase program, and built on the strong progress made in Phase I. The project had a triple bottom line philosophy—outcomes had to benefit society, the environment, and the balance sheet.

The project brought together scientists from Food Science Australia and New Zealand Crop and Food Research to work with Simplot to examine new technologies for adding value to vegetable waste.

A waste audit for processing plants in Bathurst, Devonport, and Ulverstone (Phase I) was used as the basis for evaluating available technologies. The technologies were spread across bio-energy generation, edible fibre and starch recovery, fish and animal food manufacture, extraction of bio-actives and biopolymers, and composting. The initial study identified four concepts for detailed analysis: conversion of potato waste to bio-energy, extraction of corn fibre and potato protein, and refinement of solid waste for pet food. A business case had been developed for each of four concepts: protein extraction from potatoes, fibre extraction from corn, bio-energy from anaerobic digestion of solid vegetable waste, and animal food pellets. The business cases were essential to secure large capital investments for pilot stages and commercial adoption, and were presented to the Simplot Board of Management in July 2008.

Although the business cases were still under consideration at the time of this report being published, Stage II had clearly shown that strong opportunities existed to improve the efficiency and minimise the environmental impact of vegetable processing. Future R&D in this area included the pilot testing of capital intensive technologies and the extrapolation of the technology to commercial situations.

Related levy funds

0 7341 1848 1

Funding statement:
This project was funded by Hort Innovation (then Horticulture Australia Limited) with the financial support of Simplot Australia Pty Ltd - Tasmania.

Copyright © Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited 2008. The Final Research Report (in part or as whole) cannot be reproduced, published, communicated or adapted without the prior written consent of Hort Innovation (except as may be permitted under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth)).