Nutrient-rich coffees may be on the horizon after researchers have developed a powder that is made from imperfect-looking broccoli that would have been cast aside during processing.
Being delivered through Hort Innovation for Australian vegetable growers and led by Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, the new product packs a healthy punch with approximately one serve of broccoli in every two tablespoons of powder.
Hort Innovation chief executive John Lloyd said the powder could be used for smoothies, soups, baking, as a way of hiding broccoli from fussy kids in meals, and even in coffees.
“With a rising trend in healthy eating across the board, Australian growers are always looking at ways to diversify their products and cut waste while meeting consumer demand,” he said.
Mr Lloyd also said despite the increasing popularity of ‘superfoods’ and health and wellness, Australian diets are still poor.
“Research is showing the average Australian is still not eating the recommended daily intake of vegetables a day, and options such as broccoli powder will help address this,” he said.
The 100 per cent broccoli powder is made from whole broccoli, and produced using a combination of selected pre-treatment and drying processes to retain the natural colour, flavour and nutrient composition of fresh broccoli.
Lead researcher Mary Ann Augustin said the broccoli is high in protein and fibre, and health-promoting bioactive phytochemicals, making it an ideal candidate for powder development.
“The powders are an option for farmers who wish to produce value-added vegetable ingredients for the lucrative functional food markets,” Dr Augustin said.
“The broccoli powder has already been used for the production of extruded snacks with high vegetable content. Prototype extruded snacks with 20-100 per cent vegetable content were displayed during Science Week at the Victorian Market 2017 and were well-received by parents and even by kids.”
The broccoli powder, and associated extruded snacks, are being developed as part of a larger research and development project which aims to reduce vegetable waste by creating healthy food products from ‘ugly’ produce.
The next steps, Dr Augustin said, are to take the powder into further product development and consumer sensory evaluation trials.
“The CSIRO team and Hort Innovation are discussing possible commercial applications with potential growers and others in the value chain who are interested in getting the powder on the market,” she said.
Leading broccoli producer, John Said of Fresh Select, is excited by the commercial opportunities available through the development of the value-added broccoli ingredients and products.
“I see this project as the emerging new food trend. Australians do not eat enough vegetables and farmers across Australia will have access to an alternative market while improving farm yields and sustainability. They will also be contributing to healthier lifestyles.”
This story was first published in Leading Agriculture magazine.