Recent EU research discovered that tomato waste is full of untapped, nutritious goodness, and suggested how to make the most of it. Instead of using the excess tomatoes for animal feed or simply discarding them, the EU TOM(ato) project suggests using the tomato waste as a natural food additive. Every year, around 4 million tonnes of tomato by-products are disposed of in Europe alone. These dregs, especially the seeds, are an excellent source of nutrient-rich substances such as carotenoids, proteins, sugars, fibre and oils. The TOM(ato) project will help treat tomato leftovers in a cleaner and cheaper way, without using chemicals to extract valuable nutrients, and reducing the overall amount of waste. To help with this two-year project, which kicked off last May, the European Union has contributed €425 000 towards the total costs of over €861 000. Participants include ten partners from the Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Ireland and Portugal. Final results are due in April next year.
“We have for a long time known the nutritional benefits of eating tomatoes“, says European Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin. “Now, with the TOM project we are set to maximise the potential of this juicy fruit. Every year millions of tons of tomatoes are destroyed, and large amounts of tomato by-products in manufacturing are treated as waste. Instead of simply discarding this material, it will be possible to benefit all European citizens with a wide range of alternative uses. This is an example of how technology can help enhance European citizens’ quality of life and turn sustainable development into reality.”
Making better use of Europe’s food products
Fabio Fabbi | European Commission
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