In NSW’s Hunter Valley, food and nutrient manufacturer Extracta is using discarded grape waste, sugarcane husk and orange peel to produce consumer-grade cooking ingredients such as spice blends and baking mixes.
The first five products – pictured above – are now on sale under the brand Devine Connoisseur and Extracta CEO Rod Lewis says they are just the start as the company looks for more ways to upcycle many types of agricultural waste.
“The new products will be available at several outlets in the Hunter Valley which makes sense because they contain Hunter grape skins and seeds which would otherwise have ended up in landfill. This saves winemakers money because they won’t have to pay to dispose of waste and benefits the environment by diverting agricultural surplus from landfill.”
Initially, the grape marc (seeds and skins) is being sourced from the Hunter Valley’s Tamburlaine Winery.
Lewis says other food companies are using waste like grape marc, but Extracta’s approach is different – the company is using 100 per cent of the waste, not just one element.
“We will also use the same factory to process other waste streams which gives us economies of scale,” said Lewis.
There first five products in Extracta’s range are:
- The Hunter Dry Rub: Upcycled and nutrient-dense red grape skins blended with native bush tomato, native pepper leaf and a range of other zinging flavours.
- The Seafood Spice blend: Based on Extracta’s nutrient-dense, zero-waste Chardonnay grape pomace that delivers a subtle sweetness, blended with Australian sea salt, native lemon myrtle and finger lime, and other flavours to enhance seafood dishes.
- All Purpose Seasoning: A blend of nutrient-rich, zero-waste Semillon grape skins and seeds left from winery pressing, native pepper leaf and a versatile blend of spices and herbs.
- Cab Merlot Brownie Mix: Zero-waste grape flour blended with wheat flour, cocoa powder and other ingredients to create nutritious brownies containing no alcohol.
- Artisan Focaccia & Pizza Base mix: Based on Extracta’s grape flour, this mix also includes wheat flour, yeast and other ingredients.
Lewis says Extracta is now eyeing opportunities to extract ingredients from mangoes, avocadoes, stone fruits, watermelons, soy, berries, and other agricultural waste.
He believes there are significant export opportunities for Extracta’s products and US agents have now been appointed.
While the company has made its commercial debut with a range of consumer products, its future growth is more likely to be in the wholesale business once the company scales up production, with a focus on making sugarcane husk and pectin.
The Devine Connoisseur range is sold through specialty retail outlets in the Hunter Valley, including Smelly Cheese Shop, Tintilla Estate and The Store Pokolbin.
Meanwhile, Scandinavian craft winemaker, Oddbird, has collaborated with designer Meng Du to turn leftover grape skins into faux-leather bags.