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Upcycling of plant-based food side streams

In the food industry, a significant challenge emerges when side streams of plant-based foods degrade quickly due to factors like improper handling, storage mishaps, or even microbial contamination. These could have been valuable food products or ingredients. But, once they become non-food grade, the potential they hold diminishes. To combat this, the industry is turning to upcycling – a method of repurposing these side streams before they reach that non-food grade point.


By transforming the side streams into useful products, we can not only enhance the sustainability of our food chain but also reduce waste. Yet, it’s not just about turning waste into something edible; the process must ensure that the end products are of good quality.

Mild processing technologies stand out for their ability to maintain the quality of ingredients. Their application in upcycling aims to reduce food waste, yielding high-quality products. But how do companies decide the best way to upcycle, especially when considering costs, the nature of the materials, and other unpredictable elements? This is where the Processtimator software tool developed within FOX project comes into play.

The Processtimator is a game-changer. Designed precisely for upcycling, this tool enables specialists to map out potential routes for transforming a side stream into valuable ingredients, even estimating their value as feed. Not only does it help perform intricate calculations to assess the end product’s composition, but it also estimates the resources required, costs involved, and the environmental footprint. And for those keen on diving deep into different scenarios, it facilitates comparisons to select the most sustainable option.

What sets the Processtimator apart is its holistic approach. It doesn’t just look at one aspect of upcycling but considers the entire process. From modular process design, where each step’s inputs and outputs can be tailored, to advice on selecting the right process for a specific food material, the software’s got it all. And for those who are particular about mild processing, the tool brings in technologies like dry separation and the use of pulsed electrical fields.

However, upcycling isn’t just about reducing waste, it’s also about the environment. The Processtimator ensures that the upcycling pathways under consideration have a minimal environmental impact. By analyzing these pathways’ CO2 footprint, it becomes possible to determine whether upcycling genuinely contributes to sustainability, especially when compared to other methods like composting or using the side streams as feedstock.

In summary, by promoting upcycling, we’re not only giving food side streams a second chance but also fortifying the pillars of sustainable food production. Tools like the Processtimator are paving the way, bridging the gap between food waste and a greener future.

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Contact person:
Lucian Miron
Job title:

Project Manager


European Federation of Food Science and Technology (EFFoST)

The Netherlands
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