Identifying new Product Opportunities From Waste: Eliminating Waste in Tomato Production
Keywords:tomato waste, NPD framework, identification of new products, product opportunity, nutritional, sensorial and functional properties of waste
The challenge of new product development (NPD) has seen a growth in literature on both idea generation and sustainability, but these two areas have not yet fully been integrated. The development of products from agricultural waste has particularly been overlooked, although the need to utilise sustainable materials and reuse waste is increasingly acknowledged. Our paper answers the question: How can different sources of agricultural food waste be utilized to create new product opportunities? We present a new framework for the identification and evaluation of NPD opportunities. This framework offers a new perspective to conceptualise different types of waste and identify their relative sensory, nutritional and functional properties. We present a case study of a UK tomato grower, using data gathered from interviews, attendance of meetings, observations and secondary data. Tomato production creates significant volumes of waste from unripe, imperfect, damaged and overripe fruits. Furthermore, processing tomatoes (for ketchup, passatas, juices, etc.) generates other kinds of waste such as seeds, skins and water. We show how firms can uncover new product opportunities through an analysis of each of these properties. For example, in tomato juice production around 5% of the raw material goes to waste since skins and seeds cannot be used. However, skins and seeds are nutritionally, sensorially and functionally useful and versatile. Nutrition: skins and seeds are rich in essential amino acids, minerals, fatty acids and lycopene, an antioxidant with several reported health benefits. Sensory: skin contains crystalline cellulose which can improve mouthfeel of food in low fat products, while seeds can increase hardness in flat breads. Functional: skins are partially permeable to liquids and gases, giving them potential for packaging and biodegradable tableware, while seed powder can be effective in removing organic dye molecules from coloured textile effluents. On the basis of our analysis we conclude that by examining the nutritional, sensory and functional characteristics of tomato waste, this can lead NPD managers to explore new alternatives in industries different from the original source of waste.