FoodSolutionsTeam (FST) hopes its sustainable KaroPRO Carrot Fibre will help tackle waste in the food industry.
FST utilises a waste stream from the drinks sector, co-founder Andreas Herzig explained. “Our raw material base is the pulp of the vegetable juice industry which so far was lost to the human food chain despite being a great source of nutrients.”
Herzig said food waste reduction is central to FST’s mission. “It was clear for us from the very beginning, that the reduction of food waste – or nicer put, side streams – would be the priority for our start-up business, our reason to be.
“The vegetable pulps we use are great, nutritious products and it is a shame to see them thrown away in such quantity. Forty percent of each carrot that is made into juice goes to waste”.
The company, which was founded in 2012, spent five years developing its unique milling and drying technology in order to achieve the “cold and warm swelling functionalities” of its vegetable fibres, Herzig continued.
The production process is “natural”, using only physical technologies like pressing, drying and milling. And the company is able to offer organic fibres with the same functionality as conventional fibre.
Co-founder Erik Linke believes that as consumers increasingly pay attention to what is on the ingredients list, it will become more important for food makers to ensure that the fibres they use are natural.
“We have a very comprehensive definition of natural,” explained Linke. “For us it also means that what you offer as a fibre product comes actually from the edible part of the plant of origin. One day, the likes of Foodwatch in Germany or other consumer groups will take note of what fibres are actually in the market”.
Linke, who is responsible for the commercial side of the start-up business, also believes that the functionality of FST’s fibres is key. KaroPRO 1-26 holds 26 times its own weight in water.
“The functionality of the products is where each discussion with a potential customer starts,” Linke noted. “Customers are amazed that a natural and sustainable product can hold so much water."
FST will be profiling its KaroPRO fibre at Food Ingredients Europe (FIE) in Frankfurt later this month. The company has also been nominated for the Sustainability Champion Award at the FI Innovation Awards being presented during the trade show.
“It is a real recognition of our work that we have been chosen to be in the finals. Winning it would be the icing on the cake but already being in the finals is great and we receive a lot of positive feedback from the markets,” Herzig commented.
FST manufactures a number of other vegetable fibres from waste side streams, including beetroot, kale and pumpkin.