A year has flown by already and what a year its been!
The final month is upon us and, armed with a bounty of tasty fat-reduced produce, our final aim is to complete some sensory trials with our target audience; the children. We would like to learn their opinions on the food we have created and to educate their parents on the project so far.
This Project started as an idea, a way to help promote the improvement of the health of our children; an investment in our future. We want to help educate children on the importance of a balanced and nutritious diet and to improve their current diets with lower-calorie, fibre packed foods. These lower calorie foods are healthier options for the children but not at the cost of flavour, enjoyment or a hefty price tag. But this project has been so much more than that. As a team, we have learnt and adapted to so much and met many new people along the way.
The team at Pennotec have managed to secure over 1 tonne of apple pomace from the juicing and cider industry which would have otherwise gone to landfill. This pomace has been washed thoroughly by members of our team to remove the natural sugars and oils. The wonderful team from the Biocomposites Centre, led by Dr Adam Charton, have worked tirelessly to create the fibre we have today by creating some innovative machinery to mill and gently dry the washed pomace and the marvelous team at CyberColloids, Ireland, have evaluated that fibre at every step of the way and have overseen the creation of some fantastic recipes for the fat-reduced produce we can demonstrate today.
During this project we have learnt that an unbelievable 1/3 of produce grown is lost as waste every year. It is a staggering amount to consider when that equates to millions of tonnes. A proportion of that waste is created in the food and drinks industry, where manufacturers are only interested in one aspect of the produce they work with. Pennotec is a company that strives to work with these manufacturers, to utilize what they would consider as waste and add value to it through clean and biological processing. This project has been an exciting challenge for the group in Pennotec as it has been their first leap into the food industry. However that leap has been made so much easier by the support and guidance given by CyberColloids and the Food Technology Centre.
Through the Biocomposites Centre at Bangor University, we have been working closely with the Biorefining Technology Transfer Centre based in Mona; an up-scale and product development facility where applied science is turned into innovative new products, to design and create the process needed to turn our clean pomace into the dry, functional fibre. With a background based primarily in the production of biodegradable and sustainable packaging and composites, this has been one of their first projects involved in the food industry. However, they have created some incredible technology and have had many tears and much laughter throughout this process.
The team at CyberColloids have been a linchpin to the success of the project to this stage. With A background in Hydrocolloids within the food industry, the team at CyberColloids had the knowledge on functional fibres and their use in fat-reduced products, which formed the foundation for this project. We have Worked closely with Dr Sarah Hotchkiss and Dr Angie Truis, who in 2016 published an article related to functional fibres and their involvement in the future of a natural, fat-reduced food industry. The team have evaluated the fibre produced at each stage of the project and have worked tirelessly to create the recipes and oversee the production of the foods we can trial today.