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Waste Not Want Not: Food Companies Capitalize on Leftovers

Waste Not Want Not Food Companies Capitalize on Leftovers Modern Farmer


“Waste is now a really hot topic,” says Tara McHugh, research leader for the Healthy Processed Foods Research Unit at the USDA/Agricultural Research Service’s Western Regional Research Center in Albany, CA. Over the last decade, McHugh’s group has helped several firms develop and commercialize technologies that allow small rural firms to launch innovative products that use fruit and vegetable seconds. “Initially, using byproducts was a secondary concern for those companies, but now companies want to develop products around the waste and advertise it.”

The most recent example of such firms, she says, is SonomaCeuticals, launched in 2009 with its Whole Vine line of eight cold-pressed varietal grapeseed oils, grapeseed and grape skin flours, and gluten-free cookies and crackers. One of the driving motivations for its founders, Barbara Banke, heiress of Jackson Family Wines, and Peggy Furth, former proprietor of Chalk Hill Vineyards, was to reduce the wine industry’s environmental footprint by generating new uses for the grape seeds and skins left over from pressing.

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