Reading, England—A new project will help companies sell their food waste for upcycling, according to a press release from the University of Reading.

The University partnered with European food companies including Givaudan, Döhler, Puratos, and Pepsico to create the EIT Food-funded Digital Marketplace for Side Streams. The platform will help companies reduce waste, upcycle byproducts, and make money off of what is currently considered garbage.

Dr. Afroditi Chatzifragkou, Lecturer in Food Processing at the University of Reading, said in the press release: “Companies who we’ve spoken to have all said the same thing that they would love an opportunity to make some money out of what they normally have to throw away. The problem is that most don’t know the value of these by-products or who would be interested in them. The idea of the Digital Marketplace for Side Streams is simply that we help to connect businesses who are interested in upcycling their waste with those who can use it. The database is set up in such a way that it will hopefully inspire firms to consider they can be involved in reducing waste from food production in this way.”

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One company, DSM, has been working on enzymatic processing of food production byproducts to find opportunities to turn food waste into new ingredients. Dr. Marco van den Berg, Principal Scientist Food & Application at DSM, said: "At DSM we are very much committed to make our processes and those of our customers more sustainable by offering innovative solutions that bring more value from the same starting material. Recently, we developed CanolaPROTM, a plant-based, clean-tasting, nutritionally complete and easy-to-digest protein, with numerous functional benefits in food applications, made from a side-stream of the rapeseed crushing process after oil extraction. Many more avenues remain unexplored, and this EIT project helps us to identify new opportunities previously overlooked.”

Dr. Chatzifragkou sees major opportunities for this platform in the future. “One of the great things about the Digital Marketplace is also that the scope for partnership goes beyond just the food industry. Cosmetics and pharmaceutical companies are equally able to use and benefit from by-products and reducing their consumption footprint by taking part in a circular economy like this.”