The clean and green by-products of the Australian wine industry are ripe for upcycling, and that’s exactly what’s happening in a new initiative; the Fight Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre (CRC).
The centre was launched in July 2018, and brings together industry, research and the community to capitalise on Australia’s food waste opportunities. Winning this fight will save Australia $20 billion per annum in food waste.
Through its three research and development programs, the Fight Food Waste CRC will REDUCE food waste across the supply chain, TRANSFORM unavoidable waste into innovative products, and ENGAGE with industry and consumers to deliver behavioural change. The Centre is co-funded by the Australian Government’s Department of Industry, Science, Energy & Resources CRC Program that supports industry-led collaborations between industry, researchers and the community.
The Fight Food Waste CRC is currently working to transform surplus Australian fruit and vegetables streams, such as grape marc (skins and seeds) from the wine industry, into nutraceutical ingredients.
Swinburne University is the research partner for the project, with Project Leader Professor Enzo Palombo aiming to utilise 250 tonnes of Victorian grape marc from the 2020 vintage in the production of grape seed extract.
“We’ve done laboratory validation, technical feasibility and yield optimisation, therefore the next stage of commercialisation is establishing a pilot plant capable of producing the required quantity and purity of grape seed extract,” he said.
CEO of the Fight Food Waste CRC Dr Steven Lapidge said the project has always been the “low-hanging fruit” of industry waste transformation, pun intended, however it is not a simple project and it will only be delivered through collaboration.
“Through investing in research and development we will deliver new high-value commercial opportunities for the participants of this project while at the same time fighting food waste in Australia.”