Australian researchers have developed a powder made from "ugly" broccoli they said can be a nutrient-rich add-on for lattes and other products, and prevent less-than-perfect vegetables from being wasted, according to Ingredients Network.
Hort Innovation, a grower-owned R&D and marketing group based in Sydney, and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), Australia's national science agency, said the new product delivers about one serving of broccoli in two tablespoons of the powder.
Besides green lattes, broccoli powder might be useful for adding protein and fiber to soups and smoothies, and it can be used in baking and as a way to get picky children to eat more vegetables, Hort Innovation CEO John Lloyd said in a release.
Creating powder out of "ugly" produce and adapting it for use in various foods and beverages is a compelling concept. This approach not only diverts vegetables from the waste stream, but the product could impact nutritional intake by introducing more vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber into the typical diet.
Lloyd noted that the average Australian is still not eating the recommended amount of vegetables daily — a consumer behavior the U.S. is also experiencing, according to statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The convenience factor is also important since some consumers might find it easier to include a powdered form of broccoli or other produce in their diets instead of buying, washing and preparing it at home.
Mary Ann Augustin, CSIRO's lead researcher, said in a release that the powder is made from whole broccoli, which is pre-treated and dried to keep the natural color, flavor and nutrient composition. The vegetable's high levels of protein, fiber and bioactive phytochemicals make it ideal as a powder candidate, she said.
Additional vegetables are being given the powder treatment, such as alfalfa, spinach and kale, and others are likely to follow. Fruit powders are also available, including those made from strawberry, blueberry, açai, goji berry, pomegranate and many others. These products are adaptable to a number of different foods — yogurt, beverages and baked goods among them.
Manufacturers can include fruit and vegetables powders in better-for-you products and advertise the healthier, functional content. That's what Australian farmers may decide to do now that broccoli powder has been developed. Augustin said in the release that powders are an option for growers interested in producing value-added vegetables for the lucrative functional foods market, and she noted powdered broccoli has already been successfully included in extruded snacks.