The EIT Food-funded Digitial Marketplace will allow companies to find ways to ‘upcycle’ their food waste by connecting them with firms that can reuse them.
The online platform which is managed by circular economy start-up Rethink Resource aims to help show companies how they can make additional money from their by-products by finding industries that can use their products, consequently reducing food waste.
Dr Afroditi Chatzifragkou, lecturer in food processing at the University of Reading, who helped to create the project, said: ‘Companies who we’ve spoken to have all said the same thing that they would love an opportunity to make some money out of what they normally have to throw away. The problem is that most don’t know the value of these by-products or who would be interested in them.
‘The database is set up in such a way that it will hopefully inspire firms to consider they can be involved in reducing waste from food production in this way.
‘One of the great things about the Digital Marketplace is also that the scope for partnership goes beyond just the food industry. Cosmetics and pharmaceutical companies are equally able to use and benefit from by-products and reducing their consumption footprint by taking part in a circular economy like this.’
Various small businesses such as A&R House are already benefiting from the new platform. A&R has been selling the waste from their fruit juicing plants to pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies who use the waste to create commercial applications from the fruit pomace.
Alistair House, Director of A&R House (BCL) Ltd said: ‘During our collaboration with the University of Reading, we have worked on improving the extraction techniques for anthocyanins from our blackcurrant pomace, which are often less stable that their competitors.
‘This has enabled us to maintain our market positioning by improvements to our process conditions and this has been vital in continuing sales.’
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