Large parts of the broccoli plants are left in the field. To reduce waste, we investigate using other parts of the plant to obtain new innovative ingredients for future product development. It will reduce waste, increase resource efficiency and profitability of growers.
The result of the project can be applied to other production of e.g. kale and other varieties of cabbage, and also other vegetable production. The project is part of the innovation initiative within the Rural Program, EIP Agri (European Innovation Partnership, EIP). The purpose of the initiative is to help agriculture become more productive, sustainable and have greater opportunities to meet prevailing challenges such as tougher competition, stronger price swings, climate change and tougher environmental requirements.
Food waste is lively debated today. The decline is considered to be negative from the climate aspect as well as for food supply, in Sweden and globally. Waste occurs throughout the chain from producer to consumer. At the producer level, wastes occur for a variety of reasons, and in vegetable cultivation, attacks on insects and diseases, or high demands on the appearance of the products, can cause the whole or part of the raw material to be discarded.
Another form of waste is those parts of the products that are not currently used and harvested in the field. For example, in broccoli production, only the top third of the plant is harvested, while large parts of the trunk and leaves are left in the field. In other countries, such as in the US, broccoli leaves are sold as their own product.
The project creates conditions for reducing waste and increasing resource efficiency in Swedish cabbage cultivation by devising methods for harvesting and utilizing a larger part of the plant than exists today. Because a larger quantity of raw material per cultivated area can be used for sale, the use of resources in production becomes more efficient.
Raw materials that are not used today are used to create healthy vegetable food ingredients. Of the 2/3 of the cabbage plant that is not utilized today, we intend to use at least half of this part, which consists of stem and leaf parts.
The innovation, which enables the extraction of raw materials that would otherwise be wasted, is done in several steps. A new method for harvesting and handling after harvest is being developed to enable a higher degree of harvesting of the broccoli plant. In addition to methods for harvesting and post-harvest management, including distribution, the production economy of the grower is examined. Gentle process methods are developed so that the content of nutrients and other useful components is preserved, which is ensured through analyzes.
In the project we want to develop new food ingredients. It can, for example, be for bread or new ingredients for vegetable steaks, sausages, hamburgers, meat balls, pots, grates, soups etc. Important aspects of the development are sensory (taste, mouthfeel and color), Swedish origin, nutritional value, food safety and climate / environment. We have chosen to focus on broccoli as a model product. Developed methods can serve as models for how to utilize raw materials and make new ingredients also from other raw materials.
Products from broccoli side streams
SLU, Fazer, Lyckeby Culinar, Grönsaksmästarna, LRF Trädgård, HIR Skåne, Ulla Nilsson Konsult
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SLU
Charlotta Löfström Lovisa Eliasson Ingela Persson Unn Tjörnstrand Emma Holtz Birgitta Raaholt Sven Isaksson
Press release from SLUJordbruksaktuellt (in Swedish)Environmental Assessment of Upgrading Horticultural Side Streams—The Case of Unharvested Broccoli LeavesLivsmedelsnyheter.se (in Swedish)