Tech turns waste into farm profit
FOOD waste is a huge concern for the planet’s ever-growing population, with five million tonnes of food being wasted in Australia every year, costing the economy $20 million.
A start-up is using new technology to turn agri-waste into food of the future.
Freeze Dry Industries is turning waste produce destined for landfill into a selection of dried food.
Founder and CEO Michael Buckley said freeze-drying leftover produce was providing an opportunity for farmers to create extra income while significantly reducing food waste.
“We’re pretty much freeze-drying any waste raw material,” Mr Buckley said.
“We’ve tried to showcase some early-stage products – strawberries, bananas, mango, apples, pet food, even beef blood. There’s really no limitations.”
Freeze-drying uses a process called sublimation to keep the products fresh and delicious.
“What we have to do is freeze the material, then use the suction and vacuum of outer-space conditions to suck out the ice, which takes it away and leaves the perfectly dry result.”
Freeze-drying significantly increases the shelf life of the raw materials.
People in rural and remote communities suffer the most from food insecurity in Australia, and Mr Buckley believes freeze-drying could provide the solution.
“We think to be able to make sure that every mum, dad and child gets a nutritious meal, it has to become more affordable and convenient,” he said.
“There are all sorts of health benefits and human applications, as well as (for) pets.
“A lot of our early days were spent in research and development because it is a relatively new industry for Australia.”
FUTURE FOOD: Michael Buckley from Freeze Dry Industries.