Canned tomatoes and other tomato products are a sustainable option. However, new research shows that waste from producing tomato products can be repurposed using new green technology. Keep reading to learn more!
Here at Tomato Wellness, we are all about tomatoes, and for good reason! They are tasty, easy to incorporate in recipes, and have tons of health benefits. In addition to this, canned tomatoes are great for the environment, which means they are a sustainable option. When purchased canned, they can last longer on your shelf and will not go to waste! What makes canned tomatoes such a great addition to your diet is the lycopene content found within them. Lycopene is an extremely important antioxidant and can protect against disease such as cancer and heart disease.
Each year, the tomato processing industry creates between 600 thousand to 2 million tons of pomace . Pomace is the pulpy residue that is left over after processing the tomatoes. Usually, this pomace is discarded, leaving an enormous amount of food waste behind. It has been concluded that tomato pomace can be used to extract lycopene. This greatly reduces waste, as pomace that would have been discarded is repurposed. In addition to this, researchers are trying out a new method of extracting lycopene that can be much more eco-friendly. Previously, the most common method of extracting lycopene was using hexane, an organic solvent that is a pollutant . In search of a greener method, researchers have begun to use deep eutectic solvents (DES) . These solvents are sustainable, affordable, and easy to produce. The results from the first attempt with this method show that the results were comparable with the hexane method of extraction and show much promise for a more sustainable future!
While canned tomato products were already a sustainable option to begin with, coming up with an additional use for one of their byproducts with green technology is simply groundbreaking! So, the next time you choose a tomato product at the grocery store, remember that you’re doing good for the health of both your body and our planet.
1.Silva, Y. P., Ferreira, T. A., Jiao, G., & Brooks, M. S. (2019). Sustainable approach for lycopene extraction from tomato processing by-product using hydrophobic eutectic solvents. Journal of Food Science and Technology, 56(3), 1649–1654. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13197-019-03618-8