The nutrient-rich powder developed by Hort Innovation and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia's national science agency, is made from imperfect-looking broccoli that would have otherwise been wasted.
The product packs a healthy punch with approximately one serving of broccoli in every two tablespoons of the powder.
To improve diet
John Lloyd, chief executive of Hort Innovation, said the powder could be used for smoothies, soups, baking, and even as a way to hide broccoli in meals from fussy kids.
"With a rising trend in healthy eating across the board, Australian growers are always looking at ways to diversify their products and cut waste while meeting consumer demand," said Lloyd.
He added that despite the increasing popularity of 'superfoods' and health and wellness, Australian diets are still poor.
"Research shows the average Australian is still not eating the recommended daily intake of vegetables a day, and options such as broccoli powder will help address this," he said.
The 100% broccoli powder is made from whole broccoli, and is produced using a combination of selected pre-treatment and drying processes to retain the natural colour, flavour and nutrient composition of fresh broccoli.
Dr Mary Ann Augustin, chief research scientist, CSIRO, said broccoli is high in protein, fibre and health-promoting bioactive phytochemicals, making it ideal to be developed into powdered form.
"The powders are an option for farmers who want to produce value-added vegetable ingredients for the lucrative functional food markets," said Dr Augustin.
She said the broccoli powder had already been experimented in the production of extruded snacks with high vegetable content.
"Prototype extruded snacks with 20% to 100% vegetable content were displayed during National Science Week at the Queen Victoria Market last year and were well-received by parents and even by kids," she said.
The broccoli powder, and associated extruded snacks, are being developed as part of a larger research and development project that aims to reduce vegetable waste by creating healthy food products from ‘ugly’ produce.
Next green steps
The next steps, said Dr Augustin, are to take the powder into further product development and consumer sensory evaluation trials.
"The CSIRO team and Hort Innovation are discussing potential commercial applications with produce growers and grower groups across Australia who are interested in getting the powder on the market," she said.
John Said, managing director of Fresh Select, a leading broccoli producer, is excited by the commercial opportunities available through the development of the value-added broccoli ingredients and products.
"I see this project as the emerging new food trend," he said.
"Australians don't eat enough vegetables and farmers across Australia will have access to an alternative market whilst improving farm yields and sustainability.”