Why is food waste a problem, but also an opportunity?

The FUSIONS Report estimated for 2012, in Europe alone, 90 million tons of food waste: 17 million (19%) are waste and by-products lost along the production chain and during industrial transformation processes.

The 2019 FAO Report “The State of Food and Agriculture – Moving forward on food loss and waste reduction” confirms these figures, estimating 16% of the
food loss
(the food waste from the processing industry) from the Europe/North America area. For Emilia-Romagna, where Packtin was born and has its headquarters, an estimated 300,000 tons per year of agri-food by-products are wasted.

The cited data imply that 16 percent of cropland, fertilizer, water and energy is wasted each year at best, that 16 percent of atmospheric CO2 emissions generated by agricultural and industrial practices have exacerbated the global climate situation, with no concrete counterpart. This is unacceptable, both economically and environmentally. But agri-food by-products are also a business opportunity, as flavorings, fiber and antioxidants can be made from them.

What is the difference between waste, by-product and food co-product?

Every food processing process aims to create a main finished product, but often inevitably generates other products as well. For example, to make orange juice, oranges are squeezed, resulting in juice on one side and peels on the other. The fate of the peels depends on the type of treatment and categorization the producer wishes to adopt. The simplest, most antiquated and unsustainable treatment is to consider those waste husks to be insulated and disposed of as quickly and cheaply as possible-an immense waste.

Instead, a first step of valorization is to treat the peels as by-products, earmarking them for use in animal husbandry or using them as biomass for energy production; however, calling orange peels by-products is reductive and misleading. In fact, the peels are extremely rich in fiber, vitamins, antioxidants: valuable molecules, sometimes of greater value than the product itself, making those peels true co-products.

Packtin is able to enhance all kinds of co-products with passion and vision, providing the market with the best that Italian innovation has to offer.

What co-products does your process apply to?

Our stabilization and extraction process potentially applies to any food co-product, but for the time being we are focusing only on plant-based co-products; some of them are in high market demand already at the flour stage, and for that reason we are enhancing them first, while others (e.g., pomace and avocado peels) will only be able to be fully enhanced through the extraction plant we are building.

Why is your process circular and sustainable?

our process is circular because it recovers from food processors what until now was treated as an unwanted by-product, destined at best to be delivered to biogas plants. Instead, in our case, it becomes a co-product, 100% valorized: a new raw material in its own right that can be fed back into the food market.

The process is environmentally sustainable because both the stabilization and extraction plants are designed to consume as little energy as possible through the synergy of different technologies. In addition, water and solvents are recovered and reused, and every fraction of co-products is enhanced. Our plant will therefore be zero waste!

Who are your suppliers? What requirements should they have?

Our suppliers are food processors. The most important requirement is that they also manage what they previously considered a waste or at most a by-product as a co-product, that is, a food product in its own right, according to the dictates of HACCP, to ensure the quality and safety of the finished product. We also assure ourselves with internal controls of the quality and safety of incoming co-products. The highest nutritional quality and food safety are two of the values that guide Packtin on a daily basis.

What products and services do you currently provide?

We currently produce high-quality circular flours made by low-temperature drying of food co-products. In addition, thanks to our specialized scientific team, we offer consultations to food companies throughout Italy to study technological and natural solutions to increase the shelf-life of fresh products.

But this is just the beginning: the production of extracts and the creation of biodegradable packaging are projects under development.

What are circular flours?

Circular flours are the first step of enhancing the value of food co-products. The raw material, still fresh, is dried at a low temperature to preserve the most delicate components, such as vitamins, flavors and antioxidants, intact. Through this process we obtain 100% plant-based flours of high nutritional quality, rich in fragrance, fiber and active compounds with healthful properties, which can be used in a wide variety of applications: from the food industry to nutraceuticals and cosmeceuticals. Among the high-quality circular flours offered by Packtin should certainly be mentioned. orange flour, tomato flour, oat okara flour..

I am not a company, can I purchase your flours?

You can find all our flours at the following link: https://packtin.com/en/shop/

Are your products organic or suitable for special feeds?

All of our flours of course are 100% plant-based, thus suitable for a vegetarian or vegan diet, and GMO-free. Other characteristics, such as the presence of gluten or sourcing from organic farming, depend on the source co-product. Currently, the vast majority of our products are naturally gluten-free, and we have both organic and conventional references available for several products. It is a priority for Packtin to satisfy as many consumers as possible, and to help make the agribusiness industry more sustainable and plant-based.

What areas do you consult on?

The main area we deal with is food shelf-life: we study customized ingredients and coatings to increase the shelf-life of fresh produce, using natural substances as much as possible and maintaining a clean-label. We also develop technology solutions together with companies that want to develop innovative products and services that benefit consumers and the planet.

I work in the media and would like to talk about Packtin. What should I do?

Over the years, the media have devoted a great deal of attention to Packtin and his Future Factory. Any media requests should be addressed to

I would be interested in working at Packtin, what should I do?

Packtin is always interested in meeting young talent interested in the world of circular economy. You can send your resume to info@packtin.it. All data will be processed in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of April 27, 2016 (GDPR).