FACCE-JPI funded international project OPTIBERRY is looking into high added value (non)-food applications to process or market the non-premium class fruit from raspberry, strawberry, and blackberry production. It targets innovative processing and biorefinery/extraction concepts to food prototypes and (non)-food ingredients for sustainable use of available berry biomass. “This valorisation will result in a more resilient berry supply chain, creating a secure and long-lasting sustainable relationship between the berry grower and potential customers.”
Berries were chosen for their economic importance and local clustered availability. In Europe, almost 2 million tons of berries are grown. However, more than 15% of these berries do not enter the fresh market because of quality reasons. Part of these non-premium fruit finds a destination in the industry but are sold at dumping prices.
Economically relevant functionalities and bio-activities have been assigned to berry biomass. Most of the berry species are rich in a broad set of functional molecules such as polyphenols. This provides multiple opportunities for the envisaged bio-based product development.
The project will also focus on bioreﬁning of the non-premium fruit to food and non-food ingredients (cosmetics), where extraction of the fruit will be performed for both food and non-food applications as a colourant, or antioxidant. As a result, the potential of the extracted products will be evaluated as food and cosmetic ingredient.
Source: European Commission.