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Sustainable increases in market share of Norwegian grown onions by utilizing side streams and improved shelf life of peeled onions.

Alternative title: En bærekraftig økning i markedsandel for norske grønnsaker ved bruk av sidestrøm og utvikling av nye produkter (VegiFuture)

Awarded: NOK 5.7 mill.

The aim of this project is to increase the market share of Norwegian grown onions by using the side streams for development of high-value products and by increasing quality and shelf life of peeled onions. The side stream plan to be used will include usage of onions of undesirable sizes, and dry scales from peeled onions. By development of new high-value products, such as onion oil and convenience products like single frozen cut onions for small households and public kitchens, an increase in usage of the total yield will be obtained. Convenience products will enable consumers to reduce household food wastes. In addition, the usage of onions of small and large sizes will reduce food wastes at the grower’s location and hence will increase the sustainability of onion production. To obtain these benefits technological solutions for peeling of small and large onions and washing and drying of scales will be developed. The initial steps will include sorting and cleaning of the onions for further processing. Enhanced quality (increased content of polyphenols) and improved shelf-life of peeled and packages onions for fresh consumption, by use of optical treatment before packaging, will contribute to increased sales and reduced food waste in the food supply chain and by the consumer level. The researchers on this project will also explore potential uses of dry and semidry scales from peeled onions. Today these materials are being discarded as waste or are composted. VegiFuture, if successful, will utilize side-streams from the surrounding growers, which will reduce the environmental impacts of onion production considerably by reducing CO2 and methane emissions from the regional onion production. The project includes Holm Gård, FoU-partners and end users such as restaurants that will contribute to product development and utilization.

The main objective of the “Vegifuture” project is to increase the market share of Norwegian grown onions by eliminating wastage of the side streams comprised of under and over-sized onions. The onions will be peeled, cut,and quick frozen and package in convenient sized containers for use in households, restaurants, and public kitchens. This type of processing and packaging packaging enables users to reduce food waste. VegiFuture will use an array of analytical methods for developing and testing homogenates/emulsions and onion oil/vinaigrettes from the currently wasted onion side stream materials. In the “VegiFuture” project the research environment will focus upon product development and systematic, analytical evaluations of quality. Quality and human health will be central in the product development. Usage of currently wasted onions will reduce food waste and increase the farmer’s profits. To achieve these improvements, technological solutions will be developed including procedures for washing and drying inion scales. To ensure food safety of the new food products these will be tested for mycotoxins. Also, the “Vegifuture,” team will perform systematic research to determine the optimal UV light exposure to onions to prevent fungal damage. The benefits will be quantified for (Edel-løk) and for restaurants and large kitchens (Horeca). The “Vegifuture” team will examine ways to use the dry scales from peeled onions. Currently, they are discarded as waste. The anticipated, new products and reductions in wastage will improve Norway’s agricultural economy and will deepen Norway’s contributions to fulfilling the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), while creating new jobs. The “VegiFuture” team will aim at developing three new products in cooperation with Holm Gård and end users such as restaurants which will contribute to product development and testing.

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