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‘From waste to wealth’: South African potato industry aims to unlock the potential of cull potatoes

Potatoes South Africa, in collaboration with the University of Pretoria, has secured funding from the Department of Science and Innovation for a project aimed at creating a new value chain for waste or ‘cull’ potatoes – those too small, low-quality, or overproduced to meet fresh produce market standards.

Dr Carmen Muller of the University of Pretoria and Dirk Uys of Potatoes South Africa explains the details of the project in an article published in the May/June 2023 issue of CHIPS, the country’s national potato industry magazine.

Innovating ‘cull’ potatoes: A three-phase approach

The project is said to follow a three-phase approach:

Market Research: The Bureau of Food and Agricultural Policy will conduct an in-depth study to quantify the tonnage, monetary value, and nature of wasted potatoes throughout the production chain. This will involve comprehensive questionnaires exploring various factors of waste such as regional and seasonal variations, reasons for loss, and current waste uptake practices. The study aims to determine the feasibility of secondary production systems and gain insight into potential secondary industries for maximum returns.

Product Development: This stage focuses on the innovative development of products from potatoes rejected for aesthetic reasons but still maintaining nutritional and economic value. The goal is to fill gaps in the emerging consumer market with the creation of healthy snacking foods, breakfast foods, and ready-made frozen meals that incorporate potatoes.

Creating a Secondary Market: The final phase is to establish a secondary market for aesthetically unattractive potatoes not suitable for human consumption but still nutritionally and economically valuable. These potatoes have the potential to be used as feed for high protein insects, such as black saw flies, crickets, and meal worms, which can be used in the poultry industry.

This innovative approach is set to deliver crucial information and create secondary markets for the South African potato market, promoting a more sustainable and efficient use of the country’s potato production.

Global call: Join us in reshaping potato waste utilization

All stakeholders within the South African potato industry are warmly invited to participate in this transformative research study, contributing ideas for potential new applications for waste potatoes.

If you’re interested in joining this research endeavour, or if you’d like to receive additional information, please feel free to reach out to Dirk Uys at dirk@potatoes.co.za or Carmen Muller at carmen.muller@up.ac.za. Your input can play a vital role in shaping the future of our industry.

Interested individuals from other countries are also welcome to reach out to Dirk and Carmen. Your insights on how your nation, organization or company adds value to waste potatoes could prove invaluable. Let’s share knowledge and foster global progress in this field together!

Source: CHIPS. Read the original article on p.47 of the May/June 2023 issue of the magazine.

Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse


Feel free to get in touch with Lukie!
He’ll be happy to share your company’s news stories on Potato News Today:
lukie@potatonewstoday.com
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