Leftover fruit pulp is a by-product from the juicing industry that is currently either thrown out or composted. But given its nutritional properties, as well as increasing interest in industry's efforts to cut down on food waste in the supply chain, a growing number of juice manufactures are investing in the processing equipment needed to create new ingredients from the pulp.
Two Danish companies Wish and Vesterhavsmost were exhibiting such ingredients for the first time at Bite Copenhagen last week.
Vesterhavsmost is an apple producer and juice manufacturer based in the west of the country, close to the North Sea coast.
“We have been developing this product for the past two years and are showing it for the first time here," the company's president Søren Laubjerg said. "We now have the machines, production has started and everything is running as we hoped. We are looking for customers for this new product."
Food manufacturers could use it for baked goods such as pancakes, cakes or muffins while consumers could use it as a topping for yoghurt and muesli or in home baking, he added.
The apple granules have a sweet, tangy flavour and are high in both fibre – which has an EU-authorised health claim – and pectin, which could provide functional benefit for food manufacturers and bakers, Laubjerg said.
The granules are additive-free, containing nothing but the dried pulp of cold-pressed apples, and are available in both fine and coarse granules. One jar will retail at around 40 DKK (€5.38) for consumers while prices for manufacturers will depend on the quantity purchased.
A 0.75 litre bottle of apple juice provides half a jar of apple granules and the family-owned company currently produces around 20 tonnes of dried pulp a year, equivalent to 76,000 bottles of juice.
The region's slightly colder climate means Vesterhavsmost leaves the apples on the trees for longer than other apple-producing regions, Laubjerg said, which improves the flavour of both the juice and the pulp.
Meanwhile, Lolland-based Wish makes its flakes from the pulp of pressed apples and oats, which it bakes at low temperatures to get a crunchy texture and retain as many vitamins as possible.
Denmark's Nature Agency, a branch of the country's Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, subsidised 40% of the costs of project, such as installing new processing equipment.
Pila Kirkensgaard Pannbacker, head of sales for Wish, told us this was a new venture for the company and it was still in the development stage but it has already identified cereals, chips, chocolate and baked snacks as ideal applications.
“We wanted to minimise food waste and at the same time create a healthier snack,” the company says. "[Made] without the addition of salt, sugar, fat and other additives, the crunch can be used as an alternative to traditional morning flakes or as a healthier alternative to traditional root or potato chips."
Thanks to this product and other initiatives, Wish has been certified by Refood, a Danish scheme which helps companies in both food manufacturing and food service to cut food waste and increase recycling, and the packaging for the wholegrain crunch boasts a Refood label.
Vesterhavsmost and Wish are not the only companies developing new products with ingredients previously destined for the bin. Snact is a UK manufacturer of dried 'fruit jerky' used with fruit rejected by retailers due to its appearance while Kromkommer is a Dutch company that buys unwanted wonky vegetables from farmers to make soup.