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Sustainable and cost-effective production process for the upcycling of olive, grape and nut by-products into 4 natural and healthy ingredients for nutraceutical and cosmetic applications

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - UP4HEALTH (Sustainable and cost-effective production process for the upcycling of olive, grape and nut by-products into 4 natural and healthy ingredients for nutraceutical and cosmetic applications)

Reporting period: 2020-06-01 to 2021-11-30

The UP4HEALTH project provides the demonstration at pre-industrial scale of an INTEGRATED BIOREFINERY for the recovery of valuable biomolecules from food processing by-products and their conversion into natural, healthy and sustainable high added-value products for the NUTRACEUTICALS and COSMETIC sectors. UP4HEALTH ingredients will be of suitable quality to meet market requirements of CONSUMERS and INDUSTRY in these sectors: consumers are demanding functional natural products and industry is demanding bio-based formulations for better performance and higher sustainability.

In a current scene of limited resources, million tons of food waste and by-products are discharged worldwide by the food processing industry, whose management is costing EU 143 billion € . In particular, olive and grape by-products account for more than 9.3 million tonnes (Mt). This underexploited residual biomass is rich in bioactive compounds, resulting in a great market opportunity for the UP4HEALTH project. Although existing technologies are promising for the recovery of high added-value ingredients inside the food chain, products from the valorisation of food by-products are still rather limited in the market. The main challenge is to validate an appropriate business model for the affordable upgrading at large scale of a wide variety in composition of by-products from the food processing industry, overcoming bottlenecks like logistic issues and investment costs.

UP4HEALTH upcycling process integrates a unique ZERO WASTE sustainable process for 4 locally available Mediterranean feedstocks from food processing (olive pomace, grape pomace, nut by-products (nut discards & nut press cake) and olive pits) to deliver FOUR ORGANIC, NATURAL, SUSTAINABLE & HEALTHY INGREDIENTS: (1) natural fruit water rich in polyphenols, (2) polyphenol-rich dietary fibre (hereafter referred as “fibre”), (3) fruit natural oily extracts (hereafter referred as “oily extracts”), and (4) prebiotic Xylooligosaccharides (hereafter referred as “XOS”). UP4HEALTH ingredients will be integrated into functional food, nutraceutical supplements and cosmetics, targeting a wide niche population (e.g. elderly people, healthy and green consumers, sporty people…).

The aim of UP4HEALTH is to develop new bio-based SPECIALTY INGREDIENTS (in particular functional ingredients with biofunctional and technological ingredients) from plant-based food processing by-products for high-end markets. UP4HEALTH will allow bringing to market healthier and more sustainable food, supplements and cosmetics under a circular economy concept to satisfy market demand, while giving and added value to underexploited food waste
The strategy for guaranteeing the year-round supply was prepared. This strategy includes contacting the usual supplier of ISA for organic olives, selecting those with the higher polyphenols amount. The nuts are supplied by a big Spanish company. Regarding the grapes, due to some normative requirements, it was necessary to obtain the authorization and the collaboration with a management body.
ISA has access to > 100 tons/year of olive pomace, 100 tons/year of grape pomace and 20 tons/year of nuts by-products during the project implementation for UP4HEALTH production process optimisation and for functional ingredient provision to end users. The nutritional characterization of the raw material and establishment the final ingredient requirements has been performed. THis is important for the latter selection of functional ingredients to be encapsulated and included into the final products.. Toxicological analyses have been carried out by IPB-CIMO to provide safety olive, grape and nut by-products (raw materials).
Different functional ingredients to meet end user products requirements has been prepared to be analysed. Products: Olive pulp powder, olive pulp water, olive pulp powder, olive pulp extract, olive leaves extracts, olive seeds powder, olive seeds powder, olive seeds extract, Xos from olive crushed pits, almond press cake powder, almond press cake extract, grape seeds powder, grape seeds powder, grape seeds extract. These ingredients are being characterised from a chemical and toxicological point of view. These results will allow to prepare a list of the different ingredients with its more interesting characteristics.
An inventory of Legal requirements was developed. This outlined the European legislations and directives, and CODEX Standards relevant for UP4HEALTH. The inventory covers topics of approved solvents for extraction of food ingredients, methods for characterization of olive pomace extracts, food contact material requirements, guidelines for nutrition and health claims, nutrition labelling, provision of food information for consumers, food safety and risk assessment from farm to fork, microbiological criteria of foods, and guidance on foods intended for special purposes, weight loss and food supplements
In UP4HEALTH, cooperation between the following sectors is being addressed building bridges towards new value chains: AGROFOOD, SPECIALTY INGREDIENT, FOOD SUPPLEMENT and COSMETIC sectors. This way, the Agrofood Sector will provide feedstock, working collaboratively with high end markets: functional ingredients (ISA), functional food (AMX, BZN, ISA, AIN, IK), dietary supplements (ZADE) and cosmetics (ZADE), leading to 4 new cross-sector interconnections in the bio-based economy.
The UP4HEALTH project is setting the basis for 5 new bio-based value chains in the NUT BY-PRODUCT LINE, 7 new bio-based value chains in the OLIVE BY-PRODUCT LINE and 5 new bio-based value chains in the GRAPE BY-PRODUCT LINE. In total 17 sustainable and locally routed new bio-based value chains are still planned. The functional ingredients to be obtained in UP4HEALTH can be used in different application fields thanks to the purification levels reached in the downstream processing giving 8 products in the nutraceutics sector (functional food: meat, snack bars, smoothfood, drinkable gel, olive oil, natural beverages, yogurt and dietary supplements) and 1 product in the cosmetics sector that meet current market requirements.
UP4HEALTH supports the transition from a linear to circular economy to bring to market healthier nutraceutics and cosmetics, where unavoidable residues produced during food manufacturing in olive oil, nuts and wine sectors (30% loss of total production) are viewed as useful resources for production of bioactive compounds.
UP4HEALTH will contribute to food systems more productive, more resource-efficient, more resilient, and less wasteful therefore enhancing ecosystem services.
Regarding the socio-economica impacts of the project:wineries, olive mills and nuts companies will enhance their competitiveness due to savings in logistic and treatment costs associated to the waste management. In addition, versatile and efficient processing technologies posed in UP4HEALTH allows the UPCYCLING COMPANIES that convert food feedstock in high value ingredients, to handle a wide range of raw materials, according to local agricultural practices and seasonal availability. UP4HEALTH will contribute to creating dynamic and competitive regional economies since UP4HEALTH biorefinery will operate locally (use of local biomass) and enable growth at all European regional levels, since the biomass used is available in large quantities in Europe (durable ingredient supply).
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