The Future of the Byproduct Extraction Market in the Food Industry

Today, the food industry produces significant quantities of byproducts that contain valuable compounds with high functionality and bioactivity. Moreover, consumers’ demand for healthier foods has risen in recent years, prompting the food industry to respond to this challenge. Here’s a comprehensive look at the future of this burgeoning market and how Pulsed electric Field (PEF) can play a significant role as a non-thermal technology for extraction of byproducts and sidestreams.

The market for byproduct extraction in the food industry is experiencing a significant upward trend, driven by various factors aimed at enhancing sustainability, economic efficiency, and consumer demand. OptiCept recently partnered with Simply No Waste and aims to optimize the extraction of valuable ingredients from food production by-products.


What is byproducts in food processing?

In the food industry, byproducts refer to secondary products derived from the processing of primary food items. These materials, which may have been considered waste, often contain valuable compounds with potential functional and bioactive properties. According to research, these byproducts can include peels, seeds, pulp, and other remnants from fruits, vegetables, grains, meat, and dairy processing. 

Faustino, M., Veiga, M., Sousa, P., Costa, E. M., Silva, S., & Pintado, M. (2019). Agro-Food Byproducts as a New Source of Natural Food Additives. Molecules, 24(6).

Some also use the term upcycling.

Byproducts food processing
byproducts refer to secondary products derived from the processing of primary food items.

Technological Advancements

Innovations in technology are set to propel the byproduct extraction market forward. Advanced techniques for efficiently converting byproducts into high-value products will increase their commercial appeal. For instance, new technologies in food processing and biotechnologies can transform waste materials into profitable goods. Pulsed Electric Field (PEF), is one such technology that we’ll cover more extensively below.

Regulatory Incentives

Governments worldwide are implementing stricter regulations to reduce food waste and promote sustainability. These policies incentivize companies to invest in technologies and processes that utilize byproducts. This regulatory pressure will continue to stimulate market growth, encouraging businesses to adopt sustainable practices. 

An example of this is the European Commission, taking the issue of tackling food waste very seriously. Learn more about the EU’s actions against food waste here.

Consumer Pressure

The rising awareness of environmental issues among consumers is driving demand for sustainable products. Companies that effectively utilize byproducts can gain consumer trust and loyalty. Consequently, as more consumers prioritize sustainability, the market for products made from byproducts is expected to expand significantly.

Collaborations and Innovations

Cross-industry collaborations between food companies, research institutions, and tech firms are fostering innovation. These partnerships can lead to new uses for byproducts. For example, collaborations with biotech companies can develop new biomaterials or ingredients, enhancing the value and utility of byproducts.

With this in mind, OptiCept is proud to engage in such a collaboration with Simply No Waste.

Read more about the partnership between OptiCept Technologies and Simply No Waste here. By leveraging advanced PEF technology and innovative approaches to food waste, both companies are poised to make significant strides in creating a greener and more circular food system.

Food ingredients
Food Ingredients: New methods for extracting nutrients and bioactive compounds from byproducts can create novel ingredients for healthy and functional foods.

Economic Benefits

Companies are recognizing the economic advantages of reducing waste management costs and creating new revenue streams by converting byproducts into commercially viable products. This financial incentive is a key driver for the market, as businesses seek to maximize resource efficiency and profitability.

This scale of food loss and waste harms not only human health and nutrition but also economies and the environment. According to the World Resource Institute, wasted food takes a major financial toll, costing the global economy more than $1 trillion every year. In addition, it also fuels climate change, accounting for approximately 8%-10% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Development of New Markets

The byproduct extraction market is not limited to the food industry. Byproducts can be utilized in various sectors, such as cosmetics, animal feed, biofuels, and biomaterials. This diversification broadens the market’s scope and potential, offering new opportunities for growth and innovation.

Future Opportunities

Several promising opportunities lie ahead for the byproduct extraction market:

  • Bioplastics: Extracting bioplastics from organic byproducts can reduce reliance on fossil fuels and decrease plastic waste.
  • Food Ingredients: New methods for extracting nutrients and bioactive compounds from byproducts can create novel ingredients for healthy and functional foods.
  • Energy: Utilizing byproducts to produce biogas or bioethanol can contribute to sustainable energy solutions.

The Role of Pulsed Electric Field (PEF) Technology

PEF (Pulsed Electric Field) Generator with treatment chamber

Pulsed Electric Field (PEF) technology is emerging as a transformative force in the byproduct extraction market. PEF involves the application of short bursts of high voltage to food products, which disrupts cell membranes and enhances the extraction of valuable compounds. Here’s how PEF technology can play a crucial role in the market’s success:

Enhanced Extraction Efficiency

PEF technology significantly improves the efficiency of extracting bioactive compounds, nutrients, and other valuable materials from byproducts. By breaking down cell structures more effectively than traditional methods, PEF allows for higher yields of desired products, making the extraction process more profitable and sustainable.

Energy and Cost Savings

PEF is known for its energy efficiency compared to conventional thermal processing techniques. It operates at lower temperatures, reducing energy consumption and preserving the quality of heat-sensitive compounds. This can lead to cost savings in the extraction process, making it an economically viable option for many food processing companies. An example of this is within potato processing.

Improved Product Quality

The non-thermal nature of PEF technology helps maintain the nutritional and functional properties of extracted compounds. This results in higher-quality end products that can meet the growing consumer demand for natural and minimally processed ingredients. OptiCepts PEF system for extended shelf-life of fresh juices was recently tested at the Italian research institute CREA, showing great results in line with this.

Versatility and Application Range

PEF technology can be applied to a wide range of food byproducts, including fruits, vegetables, dairy, and meat products. Its versatility makes it a valuable tool for various sectors within the food industry, enabling companies to explore new avenues for byproduct utilization.


The future looks bright for the byproduct extraction market in the food industry. According to the World Resources Institute, reducing consumer food waste by even 20%-25% by 2030 could save the world an estimated $120-$300 billion per year.

Technological advancements, increasing consumer demand for sustainability, economic and regulatory incentives, and cross-industry collaborations are key drivers shaping the market’s growth. The integration of Pulsed Electric Field (PEF) technology further enhances this potential by improving extraction efficiency, reducing costs, and maintaining product quality.

As companies continue to innovate and explore new uses for byproducts, this market is poised for significant expansion and success. By staying ahead of these trends and adopting cutting-edge technologies like PEF, businesses can enhance their sustainability efforts, unlock new revenue streams, and drive the industry toward a more sustainable and profitable future.

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