And a spoonful of broccoli? CSIRO develops superfood powder suitable for your latte

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07 Jun 2018 --- A broccoli powder has been developed by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) and agriculture group Hort Innovation, Australia, in efforts to deliver high-levels of nutrients to consumers. The powder is suitable for fortifying food products, including hot drinks, and also tackles food waste as it is made from vegetables deemed “too ugly’” to grace supermarket shelves. It’s hoped that the powder – of which two tablespoons equals a serving – could help boost the vegetable intake of Australians.

“Research shows the average Australian is still not eating the recommended daily intake of vegetables a day and options such as broccoli powder will help address this,” says John Lloyd, Hort Innovation Chief Executive.

To tackle low vegetable intake, alternative sources of nutrients can be important as consumption of fresh produce can be influenced by access, affordability and personal preferences:

“Fresh produce is best when people have access and are willing to consume them in this way. However, the availability of other food formats (containing desired levels of vegetables in palatable form) that are acceptable to consumers will help widen the choice of foods containing vegetables and may contribute in part to increased intake,” Mary Ann Augustin, Chief Research Scientist at CSIRO tells NutritionInsight.

CSIRO says that one Melbourne cafe is even experimenting by stirring it into their coffees, yet it can further be used to fortify other products, being suitable for use in bakery, dips, sauces, soup bases and noodle products, for example. The powder comes with the tag of superfood due to its composition of nutrients and has already been used to increase the vegetable content of extruded snack products. 

“The CSIRO team and Hort Innovation are discussing potential commercial applications with produce growers and grower groups across Australia who are interested in getting the powder on the market,” says Lloyd. It is expected, however, that the “development of local value-chains are expected to include the export of ingredients and products,” Augustin further explains. 

The technology used would also be appropriate for a further range of vegetables and fruit in the future, Augustin concludes.

CSIRO’s efforts in increasing the vegetable intake of Australia 
Launched last year by CSIRO, and commissioned by Hort Innovation, was a mobile app that was hoped to motivate Australians in their vegetable intake habits. The innovative VegEze app used game-like features to encourage Australian adultClick to Enlarges to eat more veggies through a 21 day “Do 3 at Dinner” challenge.

CSIRO scientist Dr. Gilly Hendrie said the findings of the research that evaluated the success of the app in Australia showed that adopting the gamified approach, such as the VegEze app, was an effective way of helping improve Australia's poor vegetable score-card.

Overall, they found that the fun, game-like app was particularly successful in getting men and overweight or obese people to eat more vegetables.

CSIRO has previously dished out dietary advice in the form of their own diet – the flexi diet – based on research that found that fasting can be an effective way to lose weight and stay healthy.

“This was the largest study exploring the effects of an intermittent fasting style of diet on weight loss, health and nutrient status,” says CSIRO Research Dietitian Dr. Jane Bowen on the research that underpinned the diet. “In addition to improvement in weight loss and overall health, we also observed psychological improvements, with participants indicating better control over eating habits.”

By Laxmi Haigh

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