Super Food from Discarded Fruit & Vegetables

Chander Mohan
Chander Mohan

A consortium led by Grupo Agroponiente, working in association with the universities of Granada & Seville, is studying how to develop improved fortified foods that are also healthier, using vegetables and fruit that are usually discarded due to size standards.

The project has a budget of the 1.2 million Euro and will continue for a time period of two and half years. The project named Nature pick was set up with a goal to create a new line of business resorting to those horticultural products. 

The Naturpick project is studying ingredients such as garlic and onion; foods that are known for their multiple health benefits, like their ability to strengthen the immune system or reduce cardiovascular risk factors. 

The project is being mutually implemented by the Almeria-based company Agroponiente Natural Produce, SL that coordinates & selects the crops, the Granada-based DMC Research (DMCA Group) that identifies the active functional principles and the Seville-based company Moreno Ruiz Hermanos, who is responsible for developing innovative recipes that include bioactive compounds. 

The consortium also has the support of the national agro-food technology center of Andalusia (TECNOVA) and the universities of Granada and Seville as research organizations. 

In the context of a growing social concern for healthy living habits, it is also pursued to consume foods that are rich in healthy ingredients, fortified with compounds for specific needs, for example, energy bars for athletes. 

Dr. Alberto Baños, one of the researchers said, "We have managed to identify and characterize the phytochemicals present in onion and garlic which are responsible for their good properties and to add them to our fortified foods".

Watermelons are another food product studied in the framework of the project, as they are rich in citrulline; an amino acid that improves the cardiac function and gives a boost to the body's performance and recovery after a physical effort. 

The final result of this project, co-financed with funds from both the EU and the Ministry of Economy, will be the development of "superfoods" in the form of bars and gels that will incorporate active ingredients of natural origin. 

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