Natural Evolution to benefit from $18b food waste opportunity

A scorching afternoon in far North Queensland, boiling bitumen and a hand of green cavendish bananas crushed into dust by the wheel of the tractor. This was how Krista and Rob Watkins drove head first into an innovative use for the 500 tonnes of bananas destined for landfill in North Queensland each week.
Krista and Rob Watkins’ company, Natural Evolution is the first company in the world to commercially produce gluten-free flour from bananas. It now has an ever-growing range of highly nutritious food products produced from waste bananas and sweet potatoes. Ranging from its signature Green Banana Baking Flour, through to baking pre-mixes, health supplements, skincare, and now vodka.
According to a recent report published by the Food and Agribusiness Growth Centre, trading as Food Innovation Australia (FIAL), by creating value-added products from food waste, food and beverage businesses such as Natural Evolution could be contributing $18 billion in economic value by 2030.
“Being able to undertake scientific research was essential to our ability to scale up, increase our production capacity and expand our product range. I really encourage other businesses to tap into the collaboration and resource-sharing that FIAL makes possible” said Natural Evolution founder and managing director, Krista Watkins.
FIAL supports businesses such as Natural Evolution to innovate through connecting them with the funding and collaborative research expertise needed to commercialise innovative products and services.
“With the majority of Australian food and beverage businesses being small-to-medium enterprises, providing these businesses with access to the expertise needed to innovate is critical,” said FIAL general manager innovation, Dr. Barry McGookin.
Krista Watkins will be taking part in a live Q&A on collaborative innovation platform, the Food Matrix, on Thursday 19 November. Register via the Food Matrix. Natural Evolution was also featured in the fifth edition of FIAL’s Celebrating Australian Food and Agribusiness Innovations book.
 

FIAL celebrates Australian food innovation with book launch

As the wise Nelson Mandela once said, “Remember to celebrate milestones as you prepare for the road ahead.”

That’s precisely what Food Innovation Australia Limited (FIAL) has done for the past four years with its book Celebrating Australian Food and Agribusiness Innovations. The FIAL team has searched far and wide to find some of the best innovations in the country — from small businesses to multinationals, the new 2019 book edition showcases 50 innovations from across the whole value chain.

The exciting innovations featured in the book are aligned to the five global food and agribusiness megatrends identified by CSIRO. These are; a less predictable planet, health on the mind, choosy customers, one world, and smarter food chains.From sugarcane packaging to bone broth crisps, FIAL is confident that these stories will encourage Australian businesses to continue innovating and find their niche.

Chef Adam Moore, who features in the book, said, “As a chef, I am excited to be a part of such an inspiring book which shares Australia’s innovation successes. These stories are a great insight into all the work that goes into bringing together the products that grace restaurant menus, supermarket shelves, and consumers’ tables.“

FIAL managing director, Mirjana Prica, is delighted to launch the 4th edition at Global Table in Melbourne. “In this years’ edition, it’s wonderful to see that technology underpins many of the innovations, a true sign that our industry is evolving. I hope that companies will use this book as inspiration to create something new for the world to eat.”

Sarah Leung, founder and chief dietitian at Alg Seaweed shared her excitement for the book, “Alg Seaweed is so excited to be recognised and published in FIAL’s Innovation Book alongside so many amazing Australian innovations. We are very proud.”