Humans waste more than 1.3 billion tons of food every year worldwide, yet nearly a billion of them are starving.
40% of food waste is made up of fruit and veggies – either so-called ugly produce not fit for retail, or the byproducts of industries like fruit juicing.
Former Auckland university associate professor Silas Villas-Boas and doctoral graduate Ninna Granucci are taking these discarded ingredients and reformulating them into superfood flours.
“We are challenging the food waste paradigm,” said Prof Villas-Boas.
Tick today’s on trend boxes
Together, the pair has created a range of 11 flours – including grapes, orange, beetroot, fig, carrot, among others – using a sophisticated fermentation process that tick all of today’s on trend boxes: gluten-free, vegan, low-carb, low-fat, low-sugar, high in prebiotic fibre and rich in nutrients.
The three-year-old start-up recently relocated to France after receiving a NZ$1.2m (US$806k) cash injection, which will enable it to further research into various fermentation technologies, build a dedicated manufacturing plant and develop new food formulations with food scientists.
The innovative flours stem from Granucci’s research into the fermentation process to convert fruit and vegetable pulp into proteins for human consumption.
The co-founders – both from Brazil – entered the project’s results into Auckland University’s Velocity Entrepreneurial Challenge in 2015, winning second place.
“We are unhappy the way we are wasting food,” said Prof Villas-Boas. “By 2050, the world is expected to need 70% more food than we have now.
“Of course, you can find new foods such as insects or put money into developing meat alternatives. Instead, we thought, let’s focus on reducing wastage of good food.”
Each flour has its own unique profile, with different properties and functionalities, along with varying colours and flavours. For example, orange flour has naturally sweet notes, although no sugar, carrot flour is bland and the pinot noir flour – made from the skins and seeds of fermented grapes designated for wine – has a mild wine smell and flavour.
The flours – which Green Spot will sell on a B2B model – are suitable for breads, biscuits, pasta, protein bars, vegan products and in dietary supplements.
“Some of our fermented flours have the same amount of protein and more calcium than milk powder, with much less fat and sugar than milk and no cholesterol,” said Prof Villas-Boas.
BakeryandSnacks headed to Green Spot’s new headquarters in Toulouse to find out more.