SWITZERLAND– Global tropical fruit processor Frutco and plant-based ingredient supplier Fooditive have teamed up to develop a new sweetener line from banana peels in an effort to fight food waste in Europe.

The product will be positioned as a sustainable sweetener that can improve health while removing carbon emissions from the supply chain.

As part of the collaboration, Fooditive and Frutco are constructing a multi waste- and residues-based biodiesel plant to process banana and tropical fruit side-streams into fruit extracts and sweeteners.

The plant will use Fooditive’s continuous fermentation technology that enables the processing of all types of fruits and vegetables side-streams.

These side-streams include by-products from food processing, waste from the food industry, and non-food crops grown on marginal land.

In this case, Frutco says the final product is a novel food ingredient, naturally found in nature, with functional fiber and no-calorie sweetener properties, described as keto-friendly.

According to a statement from Frutco, construction operations are already underway with the plant expected to open in mid-2022.

In an interview with FoodIngredientsFirst, a Frutco spokesperson said that the new sweeteners will be a 100 percent sugar replacement which can be used in many applications such as chocolate, dairy, and beverages.

While the sweetener is not yet validated as a food ingredient, the product quality, yields and production costs are very promising, explains the Frutco spokesperson.

She further notes that processing of ripe banana peel to 99.7 percent erythritol (E968) has been validated on a laboratory scale at a batch level.

Moreover, the process can be modified by interrupting fermentation at a precise moment to produce a “banana extract” (banana sweetener).

This form of the ingredient avoids E-number labeling regulation, providing a product alternative with very similar functionality. 

“This project will be the leading future for better world, a world in which we use all types of plant-based side streams that can make and improve people life providing food ingredients that are healthy and sustainable,” said Moayad Abushokhedim, CEO of Fooditive.

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