UK-based pharma creates protein powder from food scraps

Kaycee Enerva

Kaycee Enerva

Every year, more than US$1 trillion worth of food is lost or wasted worldwide, accounting for roughly one-third of the world’s supply. That is estimated to contribute up to 10 per cent of global carbon emissions, according to a recent study from World Food Program.

In line with this, UK-based pharmaceutical company Nutrapharma has created a solution that uses food scraps to produce protein powder to combat food wastage.

Referring to this as a “farm to capsule traceability”, the company use excess fruits and vegetables to lessen carbon emissions produced by the scraps while offering another plant-based option to the protein industry.

Nutrapharma CEO Dr Eric Hilton says he was surprised to find how little information was available regarding food waste innovation. Leading him to take action and use food waste effectively to lessen its harmful effects on the planet.

”Finding commercial uses for discarded side streams has the potential to improve resource efficiency and create new high-value products,” he said.

“Yet when I looked into this, I found that nothing was being done about it.”

Hilton began his research by setting up a pilot study with a few Scottish farmers to find different ways that discarded fruit and vegetables could be used.

After a few trial and errors, they learned that a novel drying process with milling techniques result in a ‘palatable powdered concentrate with a high nutritional value’. 

“We carried out some preliminary analysis and have been amazed by the results – some of the samples have a higher protein content than commercially available whey proteins,” he added.

Initial samples of the powders are comparatively higher in protein than conventional whey, and the company believes that the product will appeal to conscious consumers looking for plant-based protein alternatives.

To further develop and scale its products, the company has recently been awarded a grant from the UK Sprint.

Main image: @efetova via Twenty20.

Kaycee Enerva

Kaycee Enerva

A digital content manager based in the Philippines, Kaycee Enerva has written for multiple publications over several years. A graduate of Computer Science, she exchanged a career in IT to pursue her passion for writing. She's slowly practicing sustainability through period cups, and eating more plant-based food.


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