New vegetable snack aims to cut food waste

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A new vegetable snack which is the result of a collaboration between Australia's national science agency and a start-up is helping to reduce food waste from farms.

With food security a growing issue both nationally and internationally, the Nutri V product is made from vegetables that would have been thrown out, but are instead repurposed into a snack.

Raquel Said, the chief executive of Nutri V, told AAP her aim is to reduce waste from farms entirely.

Around 20 per cent of produce can be thrown out for a variety of reasons.

"There isn't anything wrong with these vegetables, they are perfectly fine, perfectly nutritious. They might be out of spec, they might be a surplus from what's been grown," she said.

"Think maybe too big or to small or a slight blemish on it."

The produce is dried and ground into a powder and then turned into a snack, in an attempt to reduce waste.

The drying technology, which had to remove up to 90 per cent of moisture from the vegetables without eliminating the nutritional value, was tested at the CSIRO pilot plant in Victoria.

CSIRO engineer Andrew Lawrence told AAP his team helped the food manufacturer test and develop the drying technology.

He said the scientists worked on the project for about 12 months before they achieved success.

"It was a lot of different trials and also finding the balance of using that ingredient into what is now the final product," Mr Lawrence said.

"It's trying to work out what base materials to use while keeping it nutritious and healthy."

Dr Michael Robertson, CSIRO director of agriculture and food, said the product is a great example of what the agriculture and food industry can achieve.

"We see waste streams all throughout the agri food chain and see opportunities to innovate around that," he told AAP.

"We've eliminated a loss stream in agriculture, which has required labour and water and nutrients to produce and it's just going to waste, secondly we've turned that into a healthy food product."  

Dr Roberston said the aim is now for the snack to be produced at scale which in turn will create jobs.


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