BayWa AG has become a strategic investor and partner of Kern Tec GmbH through its investment arm BayWa Venture GmbH. The start-up based in Austria has developed a range of technologies that turn the fruit stones that normally end up in the rubbish into tasty food. More than half a million tonnes of apricot, cherry, plum and peach stones are thrown away every year in Europe alone – and with them the seeds contained inside, which are a valuable raw material in food production.
“We need some out-of-the-box thinking if we are to really make progress when it comes to global food security,” says Marcus Pöllinger, BayWa Board of Management member whose responsibilities include German agricultural business. “Innovative solutions like upcycling food waste shows what is possible already from a technical standpoint – and what opportunities there are to both reduce the amount of food thrown away and also produce food in a more sustainable manner.”
Seeds from pome fruit stones are a real power food that provide valuable nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Each seed is made up of 25% protein, the same as turkey breast meat. Fruit seeds are among the most sustainable nuts on the market as they don’t require any agricultural land to grow and consume around 90% less water than other nuts such as almonds. Kern Tec specialises in turning these raw materials into gourmet oils, nougat cream and even dairy alternatives for its B2B customers. The husks that remain after cracking open the seeds are also used as a raw material in takeaway coffee cups or as an alternative to microplastics in cosmetics. The press cake left over from extracting the oil can also be recycled: a new technology that separates hydrocyanic acid is scheduled to go live in 2023.
“Kern Tec has a promising portfolio of sustainable fruit stone solutions,” says Kristal Golan, Head of New Protein Solutions and Senior Venture Manager at BayWa. “Here at BayWa, we firmly believe that consumers are very open to food made from fruit stones. Not only are they tasty, they are also good for us and the planet.”
Kern Tec has already upcycled over 1,000 tonnes of pome fruit stones at its production site in Herzogenburg, Lower Austria, and marketed the resulting materials to processing firms all over Europe. Consumers have also been able to purchase the products directly through the Wunderkern brand since April 2022.
For more information:
Tel.: +49 89 9222-3692