Innovative food company, Nutri V, has launched a range of 100 per cent vegetable powders made from repurposed imperfect broccoli, cauliflower, and pumpkin. The shelf-stable products can be added into meals, are an effective way of increasing vegetable intake, and divert perfectly good food from going to waste.
The genesis for Nutri V was around six years ago. Its parent company and one of the country's largest brassica growers, Fresh Select, was approached by Hort Innovations, the grower-owned, not-for-profit R&D corporation for Australia's horticulture industry, to help develop solutions for food waste on farms.
From that developed a relationship with CSIRO and Nutri V launched in 2020. Business development manager, Olivia Said, told Food & Drink Business there were years of research and many trials of different technologies and processes that culminated in a dehydration system being the most commercially viable with the nutritional profile and integrity they were looking for.
Since then, the company has diverted more than 200 tonnes of vegetables from landfill and added over a million serves of vegetables into the supply chain.
Each 70-gram pack of broccoli powder has the equivalent of 2.5 heads of broccoli (approximately 750 grams of broccoli). The 70-gram pack of cauliflower powder is equivalent to two heads of cauliflower (approximately 750g of cauliflower).
CSIRO scientist Dr Pablo Juliano said it was cutting edge food science meeting nutritional needs while also making difference to the environment.
“The Nutri V team is pioneering sustainability solutions in the agrifood sector by delivering vegetable rich food innovation to the community while also adding value to Australian farmers,” Juliano said.
Last year, AgriFutures and consultancy RMCG released its report into the first ever deep dive into quantifying the scale of waste in Australia’s ag sector and effective adaptable solutions.
It found around one-fifth of Australia’s fruit and vegetable produce is lost on-farm or in processing/packing sheds every year due to pests and disease, seasonal conditions, but predominantly because of imperfect appearance.
The report suggested whole crop purchasing as an antidote, thereby valorising product that is out-of-spec as well as the more aesthetically pleasing.
“It enables picture perfect produce to be sold to fresh food markets at premium prices, while lower grade produce could go to hospitality and foodservice industries – or as ‘imperfect’ value buys at the supermarket. Any produce unsuitable for these markets could be ‘upcycled’ into value-added products by processing partners,” the report said.
Nutri V CEO, Raquel Said, explained, ““Between 20 to 30 per cent of vegetables grown in Australia don’t make it to retail stores because they don’t meet specification. We’re converting that slightly imperfect veg into a powder that contains fibre, is ready to use, has no mess or waste and can be added to almost any meal.”
To date, Nutri V has been supplying the powders to commercial clients including Qantas, Sonora Foods, and Able Foods.
It also launched its first consumer product using the powders, Nutri V Goodie snacks, in 2022 with Coles.
Nutri V has partnered again with Coles stocking the powders, which will be located the fresh produce section.
Coles GM Sustainability, Brooke Donnelly, said the powders provided a sustainable solution to food waste, as well as an additional revenue stream for farmers.
“This is an excellent example of how we are working with one of our suppliers to develop a circular economy by converting what was previously wasted food into a valuable and convenient product,” said Brooke. “It also provides a way for our farmers to use all of their crop, which is more sustainable and financially beneficial for our growers.”
The powders will initially be available in Victorian stores, with a national rollout planned for later in the year.