The clean and green by-products of the Australian wine industry are ripe for upcycling, and that’s exactly what’s happening in a new initiative from Swisse Wellness, the Fight Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) and Swinburne University of Technology.
As part of its sustainability commitment, Swisse is working with the Fight Food Waste CRC to transform surplus Australian fruit and vegetables streams, such as grape marc (skins and seeds) from the wine industry, into tomorrow’s nutraceutical ingredients.
Nick Mann, the Swisse CEO said that this project will enable Swisse to source premium Australian grape seed extract from the 2020 vintage to go into local and export markets across Asia.
“From a Swisse perspective, this is a great opportunity to continue to deliver premium products, via an improved process. To make a considered shift to sourcing our ingredients through a process which is aligned with our organisational sustainability principles and thereby having a positive impact on the environment, is a step in the right direction for Swisse and the supplement industry.
“We are really excited that this ultra-premium grapeseed extract will come from the grape seeds leftover from wine production in the growing regions of Yarra Valley and the Mornington and Bellarine Peninsulas.
Additionally, as a Victorian-born and bred brand, it is a nice link to other local industry and to local agriculture” he said.
“Creating a new ultra-premium tier in the market, using locally grown and processed ingredients will help further grow the category, whilst also benefiting the environment. This is a highly sought-after ingredient in the Australian nutraceutical industry with health benefits including collagen formation, skin health, and antioxidant activity,” said Mr Mann.
“Our Swisse team sources the most nutrient-rich ingredients available world-wide, such as blood oranges from the foot of Mt Etna in Sicily and cranberries from Cape Cod, and we have an unwavering commitment to quality, safety and effectiveness.”
Swinburne is the research partner for this project, with Project Leader Professor Enzo Palombo aiming to utilise 250 tonnes of Victorian grape marc from this vintage in the production of grape seed extract for Swisse.
“We’ve done laboratory validation, technical feasibility and yield optimisation, therefore the next stage of commercialisation is establishing a pilot plant capable of producing the required quantity and purity of grape seed extract for Swisse, he said.
“Together with our industry collaborators, Viridi Innovation and Austeng, we will work towards producing fully traceable Australian grape seed extract for Swisse this season to go into their premium product.”
CEO of the Fight Food Waste CRC Dr Steven Lapidge said that this project has always been the “low-hanging fruit” of industry waste transformation, pun intended, however it is not a simple project and it will only be delivered through collaboration.
“Through investing in research and development we will deliver new high-value commercial opportunities for the participants of this project while at the same time fighting food waste in Australia.”