Almond co-products set to reduce food waste

The Almond Board of California (ABC) has announced it is currently looking for ways to optimise almond co-products such as almond hulls, shells and other woody materials in order to reduce food waste.

Changing market needs for these products has led the ABC to focus research investment on new uses which address manufacturing needs across several industries, including food and plastics.

Almond shells can be heated to high temperatures, producing a charcoal-like product, which has the potential to be used to create stronger, biodegradable plastics such as rubbish bags.

Existing research has already shown how sugar can be extracted from almond hulls, which has potential applications as a food ingredient. Once the sugar is extracted, spent hulls remain and ABC research is focused on exploring ways to use this material.

The process of grinding up entire almond orchards at the end of their mature life and incorporating the trees’ material into the soil, has significant potential benefits for soil health. These include: returning nutrients to the soil; improving soil quality, air quality, water infiltration and water-holding capacity; and slowing the rate at which carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere, prolonging the carbon sequestration benefits that trees bring to our planet. Like almonds, almond hulls are high in important nutrients which position them as a valuable soil amendment and source of organic matter.

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