Circular economy is key towards a more efficient and ecological food production system. As you already know, at Up4Health we are pursuing good quality functional ingredients to be part of the food chain. Ingredients that can enhance the final products’ quality or improve their performance in some aspects. Part of the research is being conducted at the biorefinery plant of Isanatur (our coordinator institution) in Puente la Reina, Navarra, located in the northern side of Spain.

Navarra is well known in a national and international level for its soil fertility and the production of several vegetable preservers like red peppers, asparagus, artichokes or beans, among others. It is also a land known by its wines. But it is not so famous for its olive and olive oil production. Aquí la Tierra is a very popular program in national Spanish television, which shows typical ways of cooking, living and producing in Spain.  As Manuel explains in the video, “Many families in the area of Puente La Reina used to own olive fields and vineyards that they have used for generations as a source of self-consumption. There is a long tradition here”.

But olive juice and pickled olives are not the only ingredients we can obtain from olives. Through circular economy and mechanical processes, it is possible to obtain olive oil and also use the remaining parts. Because, after cold-pressing the olives, a paste full of properties and possibilities is left. A paste that in Isanatur is processed and then a functional ingredient is obtained to use in different preparations and/or stages of the food chain process.

Up4Health team is investigating the properties of different raw materials that normally would be left behind after producing food. At Isanatur, they investigate the quality and benefits of this paste to be a part of different preparations and add value to them. All this work is carried out at their biorefinery and plant, where the team carefully evaluates every step of the process. “We have participated in several research projects and we have been so lucky to collaborate with people who were interested in the potential possibilities of this olive pulp. And through all these researches, we all discovered all the qualities of this product with a high concentration, 20 to 100 more, of active compounds than regular olive oil”.

To get all these properties, it is necessary to dry the paste with a special machine and, after this process, a special powder is the result. This powder can be added to several preparations to enrich them. At Isanatur, one of the lines they are selling at the moment is a set of sweet and salty spices with a base of the olive pulp powder.

In case you want to watch the whole program, you can see it online clicking here. Manuel Román appears from minute 12:18.

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