Bovine and ovine meat co-products valorisation opportunities: A systematic literature review

Website Link (Journal by Shirsath et. al. 2021)


  • Meat co-products can be a valuable source of biomass.
  • They can be used to produce food, feed, fibre, fuel and fertilizer.
  • They also have many high value applications, e.g. bio-medical and oleo-chemical.
  • Valorisation will require changes to industry operational and business practices.
  • The industry can address sustainability challenges through bioeconomy principles.



Everyday operations in the red meat industry generate large quantities of offal and meat co-products. These traditionally are not valued as highly as prime cuts of meat, and can represent a threat to the environment and human health, if not disposed of or processed properly.

In this way, they can represent a cost rather than a potential income stream. A requirement to sustainably feed a growing global population, and to find renewable bio-based alternatives to fossil-derived food, feed, materials and energy, provide new valorisation opportunities for such biomass.

Scope and approach

To identify such opportunities, a systematic literature review was undertaken, considering edible and inedible offal and co-products as raw materials. The initial search of academic databases identified 11,058 papers of potential relevance.

Following removal of duplicates, out of topic articles, articles for which a full-text was not available and other quality related factors, 23 review papers and 94 full research papers remained for analysis.

Key findings and conclusions

The results highlight the large variety of potential products that can be produced from meat co-products and offal, including applications in food and human nutrition, pharmaceuticals, biomedical, oleo-chemical, animal feed, pet-food and fertilizer.

Capitalising on these opportunities is likely to require demonstration and industrial-scale development, and changes to operational as well as current business practices within the industry.

However, the creation of a circular bio-economy model with positive economic, environmental, and social impacts will increasingly be required to enable the industry to address challenges relating to sustainability.


What does the future hold for advanced recycling?

Website Link (Article by Hannah Cole)

A recent report from RaboResearch suggests that the advanced recycling industry continues to expand, with a high volume of collaborations and projects being announced in 2021, and new players emerging in regions including East Asia. However, criticisms of advanced recycling are also mounting, impacting the outlook of some of the industry’s biggest companies.

In March, RaboResearch reported that there could be 140 advanced recycling plants worldwide, with a total capacity of three to four million metric tonnes, by 2025. The group’s new report, released in September, draws on its earlier predictions for the advanced recycling industry and gives some idea of how this growth may be achieved.

RaboResearch identifies a number of advanced recycling projects that have been announced in the last six months, focused on testing or rolling out new technology, securing feedstock, and investing in infrastructure solutions. This includes intentions to build more than 70 additional plants.

Announcements from companies already involved in the industry include Brightmark’s plans to put US$680 million into a plastic-to-fuel plant to treat plastic waste and PureCycle Technologies’ proposed investment of US$440 million to build a cluster location in the USA. Notably, these investments are focused on North America, a key market for advanced recycling.

Another significant announcement is TRACKCYCLE, a blockchain-enabled traceability solution for hard-to-replace plastics, supported by CirculorTotal EnergiesRecycling Technologies, and Innovate UK. The TRACKCYCLE solution is aimed at ensuring compliance with manufacturing standards at every stage of the advanced recycling process. RaboResearch adds that this announcement addresses a criticism of the industry: lack of traceability in the value chain.

Showing interest from elsewhere in the value chain, oil companies are reportedly becoming key investors in advanced recycling. Shell announced the acquisition of a 21.5% equity share in the technology provider BlueAlp, a joint venture that will potentially involve conversion units being built in the Netherlands and Singapore. Meanwhile, BP has reached a memorandum of understanding with Brightmark to explore opportunities for plants in Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium.

According to the report, packaging convertors and feedstock suppliers are the most active parties across the value chain in speeding up the rollout of advanced recycling. RaboResearch claims this interest has grown since its last report and is likely to continue expanding. Convertors and suppliers apparently gain valuable experience from partnerships with the advanced recycling industry, as well as strategic access to chemically recycled feedstock that enables companies to meet escalating recycled content targets.

Some of the major partnerships announced by convertors and suppliers include Sealed Air’s US$5 million investment in the Closed Loop Circular Plastics Fund and two supply agreements from Berry Global, which is seeking to secure chemically recycled PP.

2021 has also seen the rise of East Asia-based companies becoming more active in the advanced recycling industry. The South Korean company SK Geo Centric has set the target of becoming the world’s largest urban oil field using plastic waste and, as part of its commitment to this goal, has made significant investments in Loop Industries, Brightmark, and PureCycle Technologies. Other companies emerging in this market include Mitsui and Kumho Petrochemical, both seeking to establish advanced recycling plants in the region.

While RaboResearch implies that these investments show increasing interest in developing advanced recycling into a large-scale and commercially viable industry, there are still many practical, financial, and economic challenges going forward.

This includes criticism from NGOs and media outlets, which have argued that the technology is still unproven, too costly and has a worse-than-advertised environmental impact, while planned investments have faced ongoing delays. Critics also claim that the technology is a greenwashing tool for companies to avoid other waste management solutions that have drawn more widespread negative attention.

Some of the biggest criticisms levied at the advanced recycling industry have come from Hindenburg Research. In one report, the research group lambasted PureCycle’s approach to funding, claiming it had not yet generated any revenue despite garnering large investments, and suggested that the company was seeking to scale up some of its advanced recycling technologies despite safety concerns being identified at the laboratory level.

In another report published in 2020, Hindenburg Research critiqued Loop Industries for similar issues with funding and revenue, and published comments from previous employees of the company that implied its technology for breaking down PET into its base chemicals to produce virgin-quality resin was “impossible”. As noted by RaboResearch, both reports resulted in significant fluctuations in the companies’ share prices – with PureCycle’s dropping by 40% on the day Hindenburgh Research’s report was published. PureCycle is also facing a class action lawsuit from investors – the results of which may have consequences for the entire industry – at the time of RaboResearch’s report.

However, even for some of the most criticised players in the industry, growth continues. As suggested by RaboResearch, the number of partnerships and investments announced in 2021 appears to show that collaboration will be key to continuing developments in the advanced recycling industry. Going forward, it is likely that companies will need to consolidate a more trustworthy image in order to attract further investments.

How Kingdom Supercultures is Using AI to Create a New Generation of Novel Ingredients

Website Link (Article by Michael Wolf)

Last week, Kingdom Supercultures, a company that assembles new novel combinations of naturally-occurring microbes into a new class of ingredients called supercultures, announced a $25 million funding round. The new funding round comes after a $3.5 million round the company raised in 2020.

Unlike many computational biology startups that have emerged in recent years, Kingdom doesn’t use precision fermentation technology or genetic engineering to build its new ingredient building blocks. Instead, the company is applying artificial intelligence and statistical analysis to analyze a massive database of existing cultures to discover new and interesting potential microbial combinations that provide new functionality, flavors, and more.

What we’re building is really trying to recapitulate what we already find in nature,” said Ravi Sheth, who sat down for the latest episode of The Spoon podcast with cofounder Kendall Dabaghi.

To do that, Kingdom has assembled what the company claims is the world’s largest biobank of cultures in the world. The goal, according to Sheth, is to create a much faster path to discovery than traditional microbiology.

It’s not dissimilar from a farmer cultivating different crops and choosing the best ones and putting them in the right places in the field and growing them and delivering them,” said Sheth. “In a very similar manner, we’re looking to nature embracing and learning from everything that natural biology has to offer. And we’re applying cutting edge kind of approaches in science and technology and computation, to then select them intentionally, really accelerate this process that we’ve already been able to do as a society.”

In a way, the company’s fusion of advanced computational techniques with culture development is largely a product of the two founders’ backgrounds. Dabaghi co-founded a cybersecurity firm in the early 2010s which used advanced computational technology to scan websites for security vulnerabilities. Sheth was on a more traditional microbiology academic track, pursuing his Ph.D. with aspirations to become a professor. However, the two met at Columbia University and, after working on different research projects in the area of microbiome, started to discuss ways to work together.

I knew that I very much wanted to try to build a skill set that was at the intersection of both computation and microbiology,” said Dabaghi. “Which I think is reflected also in Ravi’s background and the way that we think as a company, which is that we don’t want to repeat a lot of the manual microbiology approaches that have been that have been like the primary focus of industry for the last like 50 years, but instead to use all of these new advances in computation, artificial intelligence, different statistical approaches to basically then be able to scan through all these microbes in different potential combinations and a much more efficient manner.”

You can hear my full conversation with the cofounders of Kingdom Supercultures on the latest episode of The Spoon podcast. Link

How packaging influences shopper’s perception of health

Website Link (Article by Nikki Hancocks)

New research provides insights into which elements of packaging have the biggest impact on the consumer’s perception of product healthiness, and how the demographics of the consumer will impact these perceptions.

Packaging plays a key role in impulse purchases and a key issue for companies developing functional foods is to be able to use the short purchasing decision situation to show the customer the benefits of the product, including its health benefits. Assessing the impact on health is a particularly difficult task for the consumer.

Previous research tells us consumers tend to use extrinsic characteristics​ as an indicator of product quality as well as perceived healthiness​ and they have to rely on these factors in a shopping environment. 

The aim of the current research, from the Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences, therefore was to examine which extrinsic features – shape, colour, health claims, ingredient claims, and domestic origin – result in a product that most plausibly shows the consumer that it has a beneficial impact on health. 

The team also aimed to assess the differences between consumer groups in terms of their perception of health impacts. 

Claims, colours and shape

The data collection methodology was an online consumer survey, which yielded 633 respondents via the university’s social media interface, between November and December 2020. 

Using images of a ready-to-drink smoothie product, respondents were shown two variations of the packaging, from which they could choose one that they felt looked most healthy. A total of 16 combinations were shown.

The team found that the claim “26 g protein per portion” increased the degree of credibility by 1.3 times, and the claim “rich in vitamin C” by 1.6 times, and the claim “with natural ingredients” doubled it compared to not displaying such a claim.Not all examined claims showed a significant effect – the use of ingredient claims makes the health effect more credible than health claims. Whereas the applied nutritional claim (“Contains no added sugar”) contributed to a more authentic demonstrations of the health benefits of the product, the effect of the examined health claim was not significant. When displaying this nutritional claim on the packaging, consumers were 1.7 times more likely to consider it beneficial to health.

Examining shape, the team concluded that using a column shape is the most advantageous, while there is no significant difference between the assessment of the health effect of the round and humanoid shape.

Their results indicate that if the manufacturer uses the column shape instead of the humanoid shape (hourglass type figure), consumers are 1.4 times more likely to assess the product as beneficial to their health.

Their results also suggests that if the manufacturer uses the colour white-blue instead of white-red as the emphasised colour of the packaging, it is four times as likely that the consumer will consider the product to be beneficial to their health.

They also found the consumer is nearly twice as likely to assess a white-green-packaged functional smoothie to be beneficial to health compared to a white-red one.

Results indicated a statement of domestic origin makes the health benefits of a product more credible. A functional smoothie with an indication of domestic origin on the packaging was nearly twice as likely to be perceived by the consumer as beneficial to health than a product without such an indication.

Based on the results, the product combination considered to be the healthiest was the one that was organic, white-blue in colour, included the statement “with natural ingredients”, an indication of domestic origin, a nutritional claim, and was square shaped.

Consumer demographics

The gender of the respondent influenced the assessment for two of the six attributes. Women assessed the health impact even more credible than men if column packaging was used instead of humanoid, and women also ascribed greater importance to the statements “Rich in vitamin C” and “With natural ingredients”. 

Respondents under the age of 36 were more likely to believe the health benefits of a smoothie containing either a nutritional claim or a health claim, than were the older age group.

Education played an important role in the case of two ingredient claims and packaging shape. Respondents with a higher education judged the claims “With natural ingredients” and “26 g protein per portion” more useful when assessing the impact on health, compared to those with a lower education.

On the other hand, respondents with a higher education were less likely to believe that a product with a round shape packaging was beneficial to health compared to humanoid shaped packaging.

Consumers with a higher general health interest were less likely to believe that an organic product was beneficial to health. Furthermore, those with a higher food involvement level were more likely to consider an organic functional smoothie beneficial to their health, compared to the less involved.

Those with a higher general health interest also assessed the shape differently: they considered a humanoid shape less credible than a product with a round shape.

The authors conclude: “Consumers are most likely to believe that product is beneficial to their health if it is primarily white and blue, organic and contains an ingredient claim. These are followed to a lesser extent by the indication of domestic origin and the nutritional claim, and least influenced by the form of the packaging. 

“However, we found that in the perception of health effect even the shape that resembled the humanoid shape differed significantly from the columnar shape. In addition, we consider it an important part of our results to point out that while health claims do not significantly affect the credibility of the health effect, nutritional claims do. The smoothie with the simplest packaging was the least likely to be perceived by respondents as having health benefits. This means that consumers were least likely to believe that the packaging was beneficial to health if it was red-white, not organic, did not contain any ingredient claims or health claims, did not have a domestic origin label and was angular in shape.

“In the functional food market, a significant proportion of products are withdrawn by companies shortly after launch. The results of our research may help manufacturers to create and present packaging in a combination that consumers are more likely to believe has positive health benefits. 

“Although our research results have shown which features contribute the most to making the consumer believe that a product has a beneficial effect on health, the question arises whether the combined use of so much information would be good corporate practice. It is possible that packaging with much less information more effectively presents the healthiness of the product to the consumer. Further research may aim to gauge how much information a manufacturer should use on the packaging to convey a sufficiently credible effect on health to the consumer.”

The authors note that a big advantage of online sampling is time- and cost-effectiveness but it also involves drawbacks, such as lower response rate or non-representative samples. They also note that the distribution of the respondents in this research was biased in several respects, such as the respondents’ education and gender.

Source: ​ “I Believe It Is Healthy—Impact of Extrinsic Product Attributes in Demonstrating Healthiness of Functional Food Products” (2021)​

How to avoid the greenwashing trap

Website Link (Article by Oliver Morrison)

New reviews on misleading claims in early 2022 will pressure companies to provide concrete evidence of their sustainability credentials in an increasingly green-focused and consumer-led market. What does this new regulation mean for brands? Caroline Greenwell, Partner at Charles Russell Speechlys, a law firm, weighs in.

With more shoppers and investors than ever considering the environmental impact of food and beverage products, authorities are upping the ante against potentially misleading environmental claims from businesses. The UK’s Environment Agency has announced a project to standardise metrics to measure the environmental performance of the food and drink sector. The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority also recently published a ‘Green Claims Code’ to help companies ensure their environmental claims do not deceive their customers.

But a shortage of guidance is currently one of the biggest challenges for food and drink producers at the moment, believes Caroline Greenwell, Partner at Charles Russell Speechlys, a law firm. ‘At the moment it’s a case of watching this space and working with the existing guidance’. Caroline Greenwell, Partner at Charles Russell Speechlys.

“We welcome the work the Environment Agency is currently doing to try to standardise metrics for environmental performance in the food and drinks sector,” ​she told FoodNavigator. “It is hoped this will help genuinely encourage eco-friendly firms to publicise their green credentials and incentivise other firms towards greener manufacturing processes. Further international collaboration may come as a result of the upcoming COP26 summit in Glasgow. But at the moment it’s a case of watching this space and working with the existing guidance.” 

The current guidance is very much in its infancy, with greenwashing only recently being taken seriously by the regulators, she added. “Our expectation is that the guidance and rules will become more detailed over time.”​The CMA’s code, for example, was published following extensive consultation​​ with businesses. Nestle strongly welcomed the guidance. But it wants further direction on what is meant by “implicit” versus “explicit” environmental claims. “This concept remains vague and its scope is unclear, which would make it difficult for businesses to identify and address,” ​ it said, asking: “Could a product that depicts the natural world or animals be considered implicitly indicating environmental credentials?”

According to Greenwell, this question touches on a very important point: that the guidance is very nuanced. Brands are understandably anxious about what might constitute implicit environmental claims which could inadvertently come under criticism, she told us. “Our view is that producers should always err on the side of caution and consider what impression a consumer could take from an image or other depiction in designing their marketing materials. The CMA Green Code makes clear that this includes claims in advertising, marketing material, branding (including business and trading names), on packaging or in other information provided to consumers.”

Caution pays 

Producers should also now be cautious of using broad terms like “environmentally friendly”, “eco” or “sustainable”. This is where many companies are falling foul of the rules and the CMA have reinforced this message in their current guidance.

“Broader, more general or absolute claims are much more likely to be inaccurate and to mislead,”​ warned Greenwell. “Terms like ‘green’, ‘sustainable’ or ‘eco-friendly,’ especially if used without explanation, are likely to be seen as suggesting that a product, service, process, brand or business as a whole has a positive environmental impact, or at least no adverse impact. Unless a business can prove that, it risks falling short of its legal obligations.”

The ASA has published some principles which are helpful in this area and which food and drink producers should be aware of. They should:

  • explain the basis of environmental claims and qualify claims where necessary;
  • ensure the meaning of the terms they use are clear to consumers;
  • hold robust evidence for claims and comparisons;
  • use a ‘cradle to grave’ assessment when considering a product or service’s environmental impact and base claims on the full lifecycle impact, or otherwise explain clearly the lifecycle limits of the claim; and
  • not mislead consumers about the environmental benefit of a product or service

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) have also compiled a list of principles, which are broadly similar to the ASA list. Claims must:

  • be truthful and accurate;
  • be clear and unambiguous;
  • not omit or hide important information;
  • compare goods or services in a fair and meaningful way;
  • consider the full life cycle of the product; and
  • be substantiated.

Why a vacuum of guidance means firms risk falling foul of the rules 

One area where the rules will become more detailed over time concerns carbon neutral claims. For example, it might be confusing to consumers if they see a ‘carbon neutral’ label on a product that might have achieved this via offsetting, a practice which many don’t believe is truly transparent.

Consumers might therefore think a product is better on these grounds without having the appreciation that another company might be committed to a slower but more robust carbon-reduction strategy without offsetting.

Greenwell recommends producers should refer back to the principles as outlined by the CMA and ASA, but admitted we are in ‘something of a vacuum of guidance, particularly of a ‘uniform and global nature’.

For example, how easy it is to make truly carbon neutral claims after considering the whole lifecycle of a product? The likelihood is those who make such claims – similar to generic claims such as ‘environmentally friendly’ – may well find themselves in hot water with any applicable regulator, Greenwell warned. “We sympathise with businesses at the moment who are having to deal with this complex area without detailed guidance covering every scenario. Adherence to the core principles and the exercise of a conservative approach towards claims while this situation subsists should ensure that companies don’t inadvertently fall foul out of the rules.”

Another challenge for food and drinks producers is complying with the rules in multiple jurisdictions, particularly as there aren’t any internationally agreed standards. “Some countries such as the UK and the US are more active in this space than others, but globally such regulations are very much in their infancy,”​ Greenwell observed. “Producers will therefore have to keep on top of the evolving regulatory landscape in multiple jurisdictions to ensure they don’t fall foul of any future regulations.”

An example of a food producer falling foul of the regulators in the UK is meal kit subscription service Gousto. The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) last year found it had made false claims about its packaging on a number of blog posts in which they claimed its Eco Chill Box was “100% plastic fee and recyclable”.

This case was particularly interesting, Greenwell noted, because it concerned blog posts as opposed to branding and packaging. “So we would urge businesses to pay as much attention to their social media marketing as their more traditional marketing collateral.”

Gousto has since looked to pioneer eco-labelling to help customers to make more environmentally conscious dinner choices​.  

The end of greenwashing? Or more opportunities for some firms to deceive customers? 

Greenwell further cautioned that ‘genuinely eco-friendly firms’ are ‘probably’ going to struggle to get the recognition they deserve given the scepticism that is emerging of brands’ green claims as a result of greenwashing.

“Ultimately the focus is on weeding out those who are presenting misleading claims, rather than seeking to validate the claims of those who are genuinely accurate,”​ she said. “One would hope that with enough reporting and calling out of the misleading claims, consumers will be in a position to make their own, informed choices and those eco-friendly companies will be rewarded for their genuine environmental commitment through consumer loyalty and increased revenue.”

The use of soluble gas stabilization technology on food – A review

Website Link (Article by Esmaeilian et. al. 2021)


  • Consumer demand for minimally processed foods is rising.
  • Thermal and non-thermal methods tend to reduce food quality for extending shelf life.
  • Soluble gas stabilization technology improves conventional food treatments efficacy.
  • Soluble gas stabilization combined with conventional food treatments is reviewed.



Increasing the shelf life of perishable food products contributes to lower food waste and the possibility of widening distribution outreach in the food value chain.

Soluble gas stabilization (SGS) technology is a pre-step process of dissolving carbon dioxide (CO2) into the product before packaging. This technology shows promising results on the lab-scale to limit microbial growth and other deteriorating mechanisms in food products.

Scope and approach

This review aims to gather available research results on the effects of combining SGS technology or dissolved CO2 with thermal and non-thermal processing technologies. The effects are structured according to the microbiological shelf life and safety as well as food quality parameters such as texture, color, drip losslipid oxidation, and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) degradation.

This paper reviews the SGS effects alone and in combination with conventional food treatments on the parameters mentioned above.

Key findings and conclusions

Improving thermal and non-thermal technologies efficacy meets the demand for better food quality while being more economically feasible. Combining dissolved CO2 with these treatments, as hurdle technology, considerably enhances the bacteriostatic effect of the treatments, mostly without compromising the product quality.

However, it is highly dependent on the product kind, treatment method, experiment protocol, and composition and concentration of the product microbiota.

Moreover, the extent of positive synergistic effects could be promoted by addressing specific problems such as gas layer formation during sous vide treatment.

This paper provides a better understanding of the SGS effectiveness, performing beside conventional food processing technologies, for the full-scale implementation of the technology.

Consumers demand more choice and innovation in low and no alcohol drinks

Website Link (Article by Rachel Arthur)

Despite the growth of the low and no alcohol category, only a third of consumers say they are satisfied with current products on the market, according to a new survey. So what can be done to improve them?

Research carried out by flavour and fragrance company Givaudan across 6,000 European consumers shows that 60% of alcohol drinkers in Europe are reducing their consumption.

The key drivers behind this ‘mindful drinking’ trend include improving general wellbeing (38%) saving money (33%) and improving physical fitness (31%).

Consumers seek out low/no alcohol products across three key occasions: low-key moments of the day (often at home, like reading outdoors or taking a bath); moments of casual conversation (such as over food, like a dinner party); and upbeat times shared with others (a night out with friends).

And yet despite this demand and the size of the opportunity, only a third of respondents in the survey said they were satisfied with current products on the market, suggesting greater innovation in the space is desperately needed. Specific issues were found with the taste of products (35% identified this as an area for improvement) and lack of depth (29%), while 24% of respondents said products weren’t easily available.

Meet the occasion

The most important thing to bear in mind when seeking to improve products is not to expect a one-size-fits-all answer, warns Igor Parshin, Givaudan’s Regional Category Manager for Beverages.

The company’s survey makes it evident the category is catering for a wide range of consumers, desires and occasions – so it follows that innovations should be targeted towards sub-groups accordingly. 

Types of consumer and drinking occasion

Givaudan’s research groups mindful drinkers into 5 categories with different attitudes towards moderation:

  • ‘wellness warriors’ (seeking good health)
  • ‘balanced hedonists’ (seeking fun)
  • ‘self-control strivers’ (seeking control)
  • ‘cautious conformer’ (seeking value and belonging)
  • ‘pragmatic moderates’ (avoiding alcohol)

“It very much depends upon the consumer profile and the occasion, with a different focus in terms of ingredients, value, and taste directions required for each,”​ he told us.

“What is clear is that one size doesn’t fit all consumers or occasions, and this creates great opportunities for drinks manufacturers to develop alternatives that are targeted at special moments or specific consumer profiles.

“For example, top notes such as citrus create zingy excitement, berry notes are associated with fun, sociability and indulgence and elements such as hops and botanical extracts can add complexity, sophistication and authenticity to the taste.

“Mouthfeel and visual appeal are also important and creating the right look and drinking experience is key to creating a more satisfying and mindful moment for consumers.”

Innovations also need to go beyond the liquid itself, he continues.

“This is also quite a new category, and our research has also shown that creating the right experience and ritual is important for each drink and moment. 

“We look at whether products are more suitable for home consumption or a bar or restaurant as well as serving suggestions for consumers and what to mix with a drink, to create different experiences. 

“This is another key contributor to the overall experience of the drink and its ultimate success.”

Listen to what consumers want

Over in the beer category, Theo Wijsman, Product Application Expert Beverage, DSM Food Specialties agrees that it’s about focusing in on specific needs and desires of consumers.

With beer, the main health and wellness concern focuses on the effect beer consumption has on the waistline.

Another consumer trend within the no and low beer category he suggests brands tap into is the popularity of low and free-from gluten beers – according to its research, just over half of beer drinkers worldwide said they found a gluten-free claim appealing.

In response, DSM has been looking at how to formulate good tasting alcohol-free beers without gluten – specific protease enzymes can be used to help break down gluten chains in beers made with grains such as wheat, rye and barley. “The enzyme has no impact on the beer taste, foam or quality, enabling brewers to create gluten-free products without compromising on consumer experience.”

He also identifies the ideas of sustainable low and no calorie consumers as those gaining traction with consumers, particularly those that use locally available raw materials. “Using adjunct brewing solutions like Brewers Compass can provide the enzymes that are usually developed by malting barley and are needed to complement the enzymes naturally present in the crop. This reduces the need for imported malt and enables the use of a wide variety of locally available raw materials, supporting the local circular economy while also reducing costs and enabling greater flexibility in recipe formulation.”

What will tomorrow’s consumer be looking for?

Health and wellness will continue to drive the category over the next two years, predicts Parshin of Givaudan, while the concepts of creativity and experience will become more important.

“Consumers are increasingly seeking delicious drinks that do good for mind and body; 38% of consumers questioned in our research report choosing lo- and no-alcohol options to help improve their health and well-being. 

“This was the top answer in response to this question and we believe this will continue to be one of the main drivers behind consumers choosing low- and no- options in years ahead.

Low- and no-alcohol beer represents the biggest opportunity in low- and no-alcohol drinks (5% of the total beer market in 2020). In 2020 it is estimated at a total value of €5.7bn ($6.63bn) in Western Europe and is forecasted to grow to €8.1bn ($9.42bn) by 2025.

However, other emerging categories including low- and no-alcohol spirits, liqueurs, and aperitifs are catching up.

“With 30% of consumers saying they have been attempting to get more creative in the kitchen over the last 18 months a key trend is consumers looking to mix their own drinks at home. 

Home cocktails have become very popular, and consumers are looking for the option to mix drinks with new flavour combinations, giving them more control over the ingredients and an activity to focus on. 

“This trend toward wanting to create a unique and enjoyable drink at home will be a key factor in shaping the products that are created in future.

“Finally, getting the right experience, taste and format to complement life’s important moments – whether that is relaxing in the evening after work, or going out to a party, or a moment of connection with friends and family – is a big factor in consumer choice. As our research shows, each occasion calls for a different blend of tastes. As the way we socialise and choose to relax continues to evolve, new drinks will be created to complement these.” 

Wijsman of DSM says consumers will pay more attention to ingredients as time goes along – the company’s research shows 40% of consumers want to pay more attention to beer ingredients.

“Alongside this, ready-to-drink products that feature better-for-you claims are expected to accelerate in popularity, as consumers embrace ‘transformative’ beverages with new, exciting tastes. Hard seltzers, for example, which are low in calories and alcohol compared to spirits, provide an appealing option for today’s ‘sober curious’ consumers and have seen a wave of new product launches.” 

Collection – the foundation for flexible packaging’s circular economy

Website Link (Article by Packagingeurope)

Collecting flexible packaging is key for a circular economy because it sources the feedstock for future sustainable products and CEFLEX, an industry-led project, thinks minor adjustments to Europe’s existing waste systems can help send more of these soft plastics where they need to go.

Around 26 million tonnes of plastic waste are generated in Europe each year with just under a third of that collected for recycling – it’s even less for flexible packaging where around 17% is transformed into a new raw material.

Most flexible packaging in Europe is collected through the residual general waste stream, but only some of it is captured in separate collection schemes,” said Michael Minch-Dixon, who works on collection at the Circular Economy for Flexible Packaging (CEFLEX) project, a collaboration of over 170 European companies, associations and organizations representing the entire value chain of flexible packaging.

We estimate that about 5.6 million tonnes per year of consumer flexible packaging is placed on the market. This includes plastic, paper and aluminum. Approximately 60% of this is mono material packaging to be sorted into recycling streams. These significant volumes of material need to be collected for sorting as we move to the circular economy – and collection is the key point where it moves from the consumer into a formal waste collection system” says Michael.

In a recent position statement, CEFLEX stakeholders agreed that 100% of flexible packaging must be targeted for collection and sorting, including on-the-go packaging. ‘Separate collection of flexible packaging at source is preferred or alternatively combined with other packaging, including rigid plastics, metal and beverage cartons’ states the position.

Waste needs to be made available for sorting in a way that maximizes recycling and material returned to the economy. Separately collected material tends to be easier to sort, cheaper to recycle and helps maximize quality” adds Minch-Dixon. “We need to make this easy, convenient and effective for consumers and sorters with a recognizable and harmonized approach across Europe.” Michael continues to explain there are also higher participation rates from society when there is kerbside collection, rather than a drop-off system.

Another element that should be harmonized according to CEFLEX is that paper and plastic flexible packaging is not collected together. “Whilst these two materials can, and are, sorted together, experience shows that it’s not easy and the contamination levels of both the paper and plastic bales are higher where sorting plants processes these together,” Michael says. 

A relatively ‘quick win’ to boost circularity?

Separate collection can and is happening – and  it doesn’t have to cost the Earth, as the systems are broadly already in place,” states Michael. According to CEFLEX, consumer flexible packaging is being separately collected in at least 18 EU countries and post sorting of municipal solid waste is extending the quantity of material targeted for sorting in key countries.

An entire spectrum of collection strategies, like deposit schemes for bottles for example, deployed across Europe exist and provide opportunities to collect more, better. But Michael believes scaling up separate collection would see Europe “make significant strides towards circularity” of flexible packaging with only minor adjustments to existing infrastructure and investment.

In Belgium, 95% of all household packaging was collected in 2020 through Fost Plus. Their ‘New Blue Bag’ of PMD mixed recyclables collected an additional 90,000 tonnes of extra packaging annually that, until recently, still ended up in the residual waste. An average of 8 kilograms of additional PMD is now collected per person.

Even when flexible packaging is not separately collected meaningful progress can be made. “In countries like Spain and The Netherlands there are examples of wind sifters and other sorting equipment being used to extract plastic packaging from the waste stream going into incinerators. This enables the incinerator to process greater volumes of material and also an opportunity for the packaging to re-enter the circular economy. Material can then go into a sorting plant and be baled into relevant fractions,” he outlines.

We have the understanding of the technologies, and they are operating at scale, so we just have to replicate best practice,” said Michael. “What we need to do is work on the business case for circularity on a national basis because each country has a different collection strategy.”

Putting the pieces into practice

CEFLEX suggests that collection systems have good potential to evolve – relatively quickly and easily compared to other end of life systems – to give far more access to raw materials for sorting and recycling.  For example, CEFLEX’s recommendations would not require a new fleet of trucks to start doing additional rounds or introducing dedicated containers and end collecting flexibles and paper together.

Separate collection scheme costs vary, but recent analysis by Suez commissioned by CEFLEX looked at real world data and put the cost of collection between €100–250 per tonne and a CO2e footprint of between 30–50kg CO2 per tonne in northern European countries.  

The main economic challenge facing widespread adoption of separate collection is found further up the value chain, where sorting and recycling facilities need the right infrastructure to incentivize the right collection of flexible packaging.

CEFLEX hopes their economic analysis and position paper can generate greater investor confidence in the right circular solutions. “The economics for recycling of flexible packaging is, by and large, not there yet. For example, if you want to sort out a non-LDPE (low-density polyethylene) flexible packaging and create a mixed plastic bale, you’re going to have to pay at least €200 a tonne,” Michael said. “But economic opportunities and environmental benefits are within reach; and a range of political and market forces are giving added momentum to the circular economy of flexible packaging.”

One systemic piece of the puzzle is Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). “Recycling flexible packaging needs the support of EPR schemes to bridge the difference between returning materials to the circular economy and what people are currently willing to pay for these products. Evolving the EPR system to incentivize better design as well as drive better sorting. Sorted bales currently have a wide range of values from +100 euro for very high-quality bales of municipally collected waste to -200€ for mixed plastics,” outlines Minch-Dixon.

But the bottom line is: if it isn’t collected, then we cannot make progress throughout the system. As we move to circularity and more ambitious recycling targets, there’s an additional incentive to put more thought into the collection, sorting and recycling of flexible packaging.”

Out of these three steps, we can and should be making light work of progress through separate collection to capture resources in the best way possible,” says Michael.  

‘Potatoes with purpose’: First carbon neutral spud produced for UK market

Website Link (Article by Flora Southey)

Grown using sustainable farming practices and packaged in plastic-free bags, the carbon neutral spuds will be the first of many products to tackle the food industry’s ‘huge impact’ on climate change, hopes Puffin Produce CEO Huw Thomas.

Grown by Puffin Produce in Pembrokeshire, Wales, Root Zero potatoes have achieved carbon neutral certification.

According to Puffin Produce, the decision to go climate neutral was prompted by a desire to reduce the negative impacts of agri-food production on climate change.

“The food system contributes up to 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions which are causing the planet to heat up faster than ever before. We have to act now – so we’re on a mission to become carbon neutral and farm in a way that protects and regenerates our land, plants and wildlife,”​ said Huw Thomas, CEO of Puffin Produce.

“This isn’t easy. We’ve engaged the best scientific advice and partnered with organisations who are helping us to measure, reduce and certify our impact. 

A collaborative approach to carbon neutrality

Puffin Produce measures its environmental impact on-farm with the Cool Farm Tool. Specifically, the tool measures its on-farm greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and soil carbon sequestration.

The producer has also worked with management consultancy 2Keel to calculate its carbon footprint, help select carbon offset projects, and design carbon removal initiatives.

“We believe in complete transparency and the only real way to measure our true impact when we count carbon is to count all of it,” ​according to the Root Zero brand.

“We have therefore measured every single thing that contributes to our carbon footprint – from the lights in our offices and factory, to the transport used to take Root Zero potatoes to the supermarkets, even down to the way you cook your spuds at home.” ​ Puffin Produce is addressing GHG emissions within its own operations and its wider value chain – covering scope 1,2 and 3 emissions.

The total carbon footprint of its business in 2019-2020 was 24,612 tonnes CO₂e. The carbon emissions from these calculations equates to 0.532kg CO₂e for every kg of potatoes sold.

Reducing CO₂e emissions

Root Zero is minimising GHG emissions from its production process by improving its farming, production, and transport practices.

In production, for example, the company is growing new varieties of potato that do not require storage at low temperatures.

Concerning packaging, Root Zero is certified 100% plastic-free. The paper used in its packaging is FSC certified, meaning it is made from 100% renewable materials. Innovations in water-based inks and adhesive technology make the paper bag completely recyclable. It is also home-compostable – when added to a garden compost heap it will decompose in around 200-300 days.

In farming, Root Zero is using more fuel-efficient tractors and electric cars, with the aim of transitioning to 100% green electricity from 2023.

Further, the business also plans to generate its own green energy by installing solar panels at its production site and wind turbines on its farms. Biodiversity is key pillar in Puffin Produce’s sustainability framework. The company plants cover crops to build up carbon and feed the soil with nutrients, sequester carbon, provide food and habitat for wildlife and attract essential pollinators, all the while helping to prevent soil erosion.

The company surrounds its fields by hedgerows, which similarly benefit wildlife and pollinators.“Climate change is affecting everything we do, putting soil, wildlife and our ability to grow at risk. We’re developing new techniques and learning from climate change experts to increase our management of the land and ensure our natural environment is strong and resilient,”​ said Thomas.

“Root Zero is about growing responsibly and respecting nature, farming in a way that minimises or captures carbon, nurtures healthy soils and protects our local biodiversity. Our hope is that what we learn from Root Zero can offer a more sustainable future for agriculture for Pembrokeshire and beyond.”

Offsetting carbon via international projects

While Root Zero’s priority is to reduce its emissions as much as possible, it has also selected projects to offset its ‘unavoidable’ GHG emissions.

For every 1,000t of Root Zero potatoes it sells, 586t of CO₂e is offset via three international projects.

In Nicaragua, Root Zero is helping fund a bamboo afforestation project, in India, the brand is helping to provide a safe supply of drinking water, and in Rwanda Root Zero is giving families access to clean cooking stoves that are more energy efficient than open fire cooking methods.

Looking to the future, Root Zero is committed to net zero emissions by 2050. In the meantime, the company has set its own interim targets.

By 2030, the company aims to reduce the carbon intensity of its potatoes by 51%, and to reduce operational emissions by 46%.

Trending plant proteins

Website Link (Article by Jeff Gelski)

Surging, emerging and flourishing all could describe the plant protein category. Pea protein continues to increase in popularity and may keep surging for the rest of this decade. Other protein sources, like lupin bean, are emerging, and plant protein sales in general are flourishing. Selecting the appropriate protein source for baked foods applications may depend on price, nutrition and flavor. Soy protein is an example of a cost-effective option, and almond protein’s flavor may please consumers.

US retail sales of plant-based foods grew 27% in 2020, bringing the market value to $7 billion, according to data from the Plant Based Foods Association, San Francisco, and The Good Food Institute, Washington. Fifty-seven percent of US households said they purchased plant-based foods in 2020, which was up from 53% in 2019. In comparison, the total US retail food market increased 15% in 2020 as COVID-19 shuttered restaurants and consumers stocked up on food. A report from The Hartman Group, Bellevue, Wash., released this year revealed 48% of consumers are looking for products labeled as plant-based.

A survey from Ingredion, Inc., Westchester, Ill., found 67% of respondents in 2020 said added protein was important when buying a food or beverage, which was up from 57% in 2017.

Sixty-five percent of US consumers in the study stated that they are looking for a good source of plant protein, so there definitely has been a shift in consumer perception of plant-based ingredients and proteins,” said Ricardo Rodriguez, marketing manager, bakery and confectionery categories for Ingredion. “In the same study, 64% of consumers said they are willing to pay more for foods made with plant-based ingredients, and 68% attribute more value to high protein claims.”

Expect sales of pea protein, with its non-GMO and non-allergenic traits, to increase. Future Market Insights, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, forecast the global pea protein market will reach $3.2 billion in 2021 and then climb to $12.31 billion by the end of 2031 thanks to a compound annual growth rate of 14%. Future Market Insights forecast the US market for pea protein to account for nearly 82% of the North American market by 2031.

Pea protein is sourced from yellow pea seed varieties specially selected to minimize off-notes, said McKenna Mills, senior technical services specialist for bakery for Cargill, Minneapolis. The peas then are processed without the use of hexanes to bring out the best possible flavor. Cargill and Puris, a pea-based ingredient company that contracts with farmers, operate a joint venture that offers different pea proteins for different application needs.

For example, some Puris pea protein SKUs (stock-keeping units) are better suited to crackers where it’s important to prevent staling and moisture migration,” Ms. Mills said. “Other SKUs work better in breads where controlling dough viscosity is a bigger priority. Puris even offers pea protein crisps, a great way to introduce a unique texture experience into a bar or snacking application.”

Globally, overall food and beverage product launches that promote pea protein have doubled in the last five years, said Stephanie Mattucci, associate director, global food science for Mintel. Year-to-date pea protein has been promoted in about 1% of overall global new product food and beverage launches, which compares to less than 0.5% five years ago, according to Mintel’s Global New Products Database (GNPD).

Now pea protein has certainly become the darling of the plant-based movement, but it wasn’t an overnight success,” Ms. Mattucci said Aug. 25 in the Trends and Innovation virtual webinar presented by Food Business News, a sister publication of Milling & Baking News.

A sweeter lupin

CK Ingredients, Oakville, Ont., is working to grow awareness and use of lupin beans.

CK has been devoted to growing this market for six years now,” said Michael Chernyak, president. “Innovation takes time to launch and needs to be adaptable to be a solution to consumers’ problems that are hard to articulate in the early days. Finally, we are getting to a point where we can articulate consumers’ desires for front-of-pack claims — verbiage like plant-based protein, ‘high in protein,’ ‘high in fiber,’ ‘keto,’ ‘low-net carb,’ ‘diabetic-friendly,’ ‘low-glycemic index,’ ‘sustainable,’ and ‘superfood.’

It’s a very complete food,” he said. “We don’t stand up next to pea and rice protein concentrates and isolates, as they are strictly protein stories, while we’re much more than that.”

Potential applications for lupin beans include baked foods, bakery mixes, snacks, crackers and pasta as well as plant-based dairy alternatives, plant-based meat alternatives, smoothie mixes, oatmeal, granola and nutrition snack bars.

We believe that lupin bean will co-exist with pea protein and other plant protein sources — that they will be used in combination, to assist food developers in meeting nutritional/formulation targets,” Mr. Chernyak said.

Soy, wheat leading sources

While pea protein has increased in use, it still trails other plant protein sources. About 3% of global new food and beverage product launches contained soy protein in 2020, and more than 2% featured wheat protein, according to Mintel GNPD data.

Soy protein has good supply chain availability and is cost-effective, said Ms. Mills of Cargill.

It’s also highly functional,” she said. “Soy flour is used in baked goods, especially sweet baked goods like snack cakes, for partial replacement of eggs as a cost-saving measure. It can also improve the elasticity of doughs, help control the viscosity of batters and enhance the crumb structure of breads. In donuts and other fried products, soy protein can help reduce fat absorption. It’s also used in some gluten-free bakery applications where it adds body and viscosity to batters.”

Manildra USA, Leawood, Kan., offers GemPro wheat proteins, each one with a unique functional benefit, said Brook Carson, vice president of product development.

For example, GemPro HPG is used to enhance texture by providing a firm and chewy bite,” she said. “GemPro Plus is ideal for replacing eggs in cakes because it provides enough structure to support volume but also resilience.”

Adding GemPro Prime-W helps to achieve a soft and chewy bite in cookies. Gem Pro Ultra’s solubility works well for soft baked cookies. GemPro 4400 gives formulators a slightly more rigid cookie. In muffins, GemPro Plus boosts resilience and GemPro 3300 promotes aeration.

By considering the rheology in production and the texture of the finished product, you can select the best GemPro ingredient to meet your protein goals,” Ms. Carson said. “Wheat protein has a unique viscoelastic quality, contributing to the ability to give strength and a nice, chewy bite to bakery and snacks. However, when we take full advantage of this unique quality, we can enhance texture in more ways than ever before.”

The case for quinoa flour

Both Ardent Mills LLC, Denver, and Ingredion, Inc., Westchester, Ill., are working with quinoa flour and pulse flour.

Ardent Mills completed the acquisition of Hinrichs Trading Co., a chickpea sourcing, cleaning and packaging business based in Pullman, Wash., earlier this year. Chickpeas, along with yellow peas, lentils and beans, are pulses. Ardent Mills sources quinoa from Colorado. Chickpeas contain essential amino acids, including lysine and arginine, but they are deficient in the sulfur-containing amino acids methionine and cystine, which can be complemented by adding cereals to the diet, said Angela Ichwan, senior director of research and development for the Annex by Ardent Mills, a business of Ardent Mills. Chickpea protein works in protein blends because it has a subtle flavor that does not overpower the taste profile of the finished product, she added.

Both quinoa flour and pulse flour perform well in a variety of applications, including gluten-free or traditional baked foods, batters and breadings, pasta and more, said Erin Nese, technologist, commercial innovation acceleration for Ingredion. The company’s Homecraft pulse flours range from 10% to 30% protein on a dry basis. Homecraft Quinoa 112 flour is 12% to 13% protein on a dry basis.

Quinoa and pulse flours provide more protein, fiber and micronutrients compared to traditional gluten-free flours such as rice or tapioca.

Using Homecraft pulse flours can improve gluten-free crumb color and browning in baked goods, deliver a crispy texture in snack applications, and provide good product volume and shelf life stability in gluten-free sweet goods,” Ms. Nese said. “Using Homecraft Quinoa 112 flour can improve freeze/thaw stability of gluten-free bread, help with dough handling and moisture retention in gluten-free pizza crust, and can replace up to 100% of bulk flour in a gluten-free cookie.”

The flavor of almonds

Almond protein powder provides taste and texture benefits along with high-fiber and low-fat content, said Laura Gerhard, vice president of Blue Diamond Global Ingredients Division, Sacramento, Calif. It helps create a mild and balanced flavor profile that complements virtually any application.

Also, the powder is milled to an ultra-fine granulation, allowing for a smooth mouthfeel,” she said. “The combination of these attributes makes it possible for formulators to use almond protein powder as a base for protein-enriched bakery products that have great taste, ideal texture and a simpler label.

In cookies and brownies, almond protein powder provides a neutral background to build a desired flavor profile, and it has high water-absorption properties that allow for chewier textures, she said.

Almond protein powder may be incorporated into gluten-free flour mixes as well.

Other plants to consider

A variety of plants are showing up in items from Rich Products Corp., Buffalo, NY. Plant-based pizza crusts and flatbreads combine wheat with vegetables like cauliflower, sweet potato and zucchini, said Julie Altobello, senior marketing manager of health and authenticity. Each vegetable has its own flavor profile.

We also have a sweet potato brioche and cauliflower roll dough, which add another element of yum to sandwiches,” she said.

More consumers are recognizing plant-based foods can be a part of their diets.

They don’t have to be vegan, vegetarian or follow a restrictive diet to eat plant-based,” Ms. Altobello said. “Plant-based can be just as flavorful and indulgent as animal-based products. It’s about making the foods consumers love even better by using ingredients they feel good about eating.”