Four of the largest potato producers in Australia will invest nearly $1 million into ways of utilising waste potatoes. Over the next three years, The Mitolo Group, Zerella Fresh, Thomas Foods International Fresh Produce and The South Australian Potato Company are aiming to convert 100 per cent of their potato waste into commercial benefit.
The companies have entered a partnership with the Fight Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), in conjunction with industry association Potatoes South Australia and the University of Adelaide. Research and development will go into saving up to 100,000 tonnes of potatoes currently going to waste every year.
Potatoes South Australia chief executive, Robbie Davis, said it was a fantastic opportunity for South Australia as the largest potato-growing state: "We are seeing up to 40pc of potatoes rejected because they do not meet retail specifications. At the same time Australia is importing 20,000 tonnes of potato starch each year, and it just doesn't make sense that we're not using these huge volumes of potatoes for alternative purposes.”
A large focus of this project is the potential development of an Australian potato starch industry which would provide additional revenue for Australian potato companies; potentially $1000 a tonne for extracted starch instead of the current value of $0-10 a tonne for the waste.
"Potato starch is used broadly across the food industry, from bioplastics and packaging, to coatings and adhesives," Ms Davis told northqueenslandregister.com.au.. "We also want to use the waste from the waste, so after extracting the potato starch, there will be further opportunities using the residual waste from this first stage."