Food waste gets new life as fibre boost

Food waste gets new life as fibre boost

With food waste a big concern for many, news that some of it is being given new life as a fibre boost will come as a relief.

A research team from Campden BRI has used butternut pumpkin peel powder to replace 20 per cent of the wheat flour in tortillas to create a product they believe will appeal to consumers and have potential to improve health.

Replacing the wheat flour with butternut pumpkin peel powder increased the tortilla’s fibre by 97 per cent (from 3.3g to 6.5g per 100g).

The new product is a part of the Calorie Reduction and Fibre Enhancement study, which aims to understand the technical functions of dietary fibre in products and their potential for calorific density reduction, and support innovation of lower calorie products.

A report produced by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition in 2015 suggested the average adult should consume 30g of dietary fibre a day.

Consumers who do not achieve this expose themselves to an increased risk of obesity, type two diabetes and colorectal cancers. Consumers are becoming aware of these risks and this has increased the demand for high fibre products.

Consequently, food and drink manufacturers are now under pressure to reformulate their products with more fibre so that they qualify for fibre claims.

Two common methods manufacturers use to enhance the fibre in their products include incorporating pure fibres such as inulin, or using whole ingredients naturally high in fibre such as seeds or nuts. Alternatively, manufacturers can tap into food waste streams to incorporate highly fibrous foods into their products – with the added benefit of repurposing food and reducing waste.

The next phase of the research will involve trialling various concentrations of commercial fibres in pizza bases, tomato sauces and meatballs, while assessing how characteristics may affect product quality and consumer acceptability.

The way the butternut pumpkin peel powder changed the colour of the tortillas was a key consideration for researchers, as colour plays a critical role in consumers’ acceptance of a product, as well as texture and taste.

Consumer and sensory trials will be conducted to determine consumer acceptance of reformulated products.

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