19/06/2018 – News / Functional Food / Coffee / Food Waste / Super Foods / Health / Australia
Broccoli latte, anyone?
Nutrient-rich coffees may be on the horizon after researchers have developed a powder that is made from imperfect-looking broccoli that would have been cast aside during processing.
Being delivered through Hort Innovation for Australian vegetable growers and led by Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, the new product packs a healthy punch with approximately one serving of broccoli in every two tablespoons of powder.
Hort Innovation chief executive John Lloyd said the powder could be used for smoothies, soups, baking, as a way of hiding broccoli from fussy kids in meals, and even in coffees. “With a rising trend in healthy eating across the board, Australian growers are always looking at ways to diversify their products and cut waste while meeting consumer demand,” he said.
Mr Lloyd also said despite the increasing popularity of ‘super foods’ and health and wellness, Australian diets are still poor. “Research is showing the average Australian is still not eating the recommended daily intake of vegetables a day, and options such as broccoli powder will help address this,” he said.
Harvest to Home consumer insights indicate that one group that could benefit from broccoli powder are one-person adult households, with only 64 per cent of this group currently buying broccoli.
The 100 per cent broccoli powder is made from whole broccoli and produced using a combination of selected pre-treatment and drying processes to retain the natural colour, flavour and nutrient composition of fresh broccoli.
Lead researcher Mary Ann Augustin said the fact that broccoli is high in protein and fibre – as well as health-promoting bioactive phytochemicals – makes it an ideal candidate for powder development. “The powders are an option for farmers who wish to produce value-added vegetable ingredients for the lucrative functional food markets,” Dr Augustin said. “The broccoli powder has already been used for the production of extruded snacks with high vegetable content. Prototype extruded snacks with 20–100 per cent vegetable content were displayed during Science Week at the Victorian Market last year and were well-received by parents and even by kids.”
The broccoli powder and associated extruded snacks are being developed as part of a larger research and development project that aims to reduce vegetable waste by creating healthy food products from ‘ugly’ produce.
A new food trend
The next steps, Dr Augustin said, are to take the powder into further product development and consumer sensory evaluation trials. “The CSIRO team and Hort Innovation are discussing possible commercial applications with potential growers and others in the value chain who are interested in getting the powder on the market,” she said.
Leading Australian broccoli producer, John Said of Fresh Select, is excited by the commercial opportunities available through the development of the value-added broccoli ingredients and products. “I see this project as the emerging new food trend. Australians do not eat enough vegetables and farmers across Australia will have access to an alternative market while improving farm yields and sustainability. They will also be contributing to healthier lifestyles.”