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Researchers Focus On Converting Apple Waste Into Edible Products
May 21, 2019

During processing techniques for juices, jams and cider, roughly one-third of the apple is being wasted. Processing apples into these food products leaves behind a waste product, pomace, composed of the skin, stems, seeds, core and other soft tissue that currently offers little in the way of economic value and most often becomes another addition to the environmental pollution stream.

Now, according to information provided by Cornell University, researchers are focused on turning the nutritious leftovers into snack foods and cereals, reducing waste and creating new economic opportunities for fruit producers and processing companies.

Syed Rizvi, International Professor of Food Process Engineering in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell, has recently received matching grants of $540,000 from the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) and the New York Apple Association to aid in the development of technologies to preserve the nutritional quality of pomace and convert it into edible foods with high nutritional content.

“About one-third of food waste occurs during food processing operations and represents tremendous amounts of nutrition and energy,” explained Prof. Rizvi. “Value recovery from these resources to health-beneficial products using novel technologies is both a necessity and a challenge that we propose to address in this research.”

Today, pomace is used as animal feed or becomes another addition to local landfills. Finding ways to convert the waste – which is rich in fiber, vitamins, polyphenols, antioxidants and other nutritional compounds – into value-added products is a goal of the apple industry.

“Reducing agricultural waste benefits farmers, consumers and the environment,” noted Sally Rockey, FFAR executive director. “It is a shame to waste a nutritionally potent byproduct like pomace, and we are thrilled that Cornell is looking to use this product, thereby reducing food waste and increasing the nutritional content of snacks.”

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