Food and processing industry

Transforming Agricultural Produce waste into value added products is a sustainable and economically viable approach

Agricultural food and processing industry  generates large amounts of waste through processing of various commodities. These wastes if not utilised is not only a financial loss for the processor but also produce harmful effects to the environment as well as human health. We must know that the waste generated from the food and processing of agro materials contain large amount of biomaterials which can be converted to yield biofuels, enzymes, proteins, biogas, compost, biodegradable packaging films, biochar and other commodities or food ingredients. The waste generated from agro-materials like spices, coffee, tea, herbs etc is not effectively utilised and hence a lot of value gets wasted. This blog is all about how agricultural produce waste are transformed into value added products and what are the several benefits it offers.

Transforming waste into value added products

  • Tea is one of the most consumed beverages among individuals especially in China and India. It was estimated that approximately 6.3 million metric tonnes of tea was consumed in the year 2020 and is expected to rise by 7.4 million metric tonnes by the year 2025. Tea is rich in bio active compounds which have a number of health benefits. Refuse/BMF (Broken Mixed Fannings) Tea is packed with antioxidants, caffeine and polyphenols and can effectively be used in the conversion of tea waste into Instant tea, Caffeine and polyphenols.
  • Several studies showed the utilisation of tea waste in extraction products with medicinal properties like flavanols, caffeine, catechin, it was also found to be used as generation of bioenergy and adsorbents for waste water treatments.
  • Similarly, coffee waste including spent coffee ground, coffee leaves, coffee husk and pulps which is generated from harvesting, processing, roasting or brewing of coffee.  can be used for the extraction of various compounds like lipids, tannins polyphenols, flavonoids, biofuels, by using the right technologies and waste management treatments. For example, coffee leaves contain the most abundant bioactive compound “caffeine”. Studies showed that coffee leaves can be used in packaging materials, deodourizers and animal feed.
  • Coffee waste mainly spent coffee grounds has been utilized to produce bio-sugar, biofuel, bio-oil, bio-absorbents, fertilizer, enzymes, dietary fiber, and bioactive compounds.
  • Coffee generates huge amount of waste water that can be used as a substrate for bioconversion. It consists of sugars, proteins salts and other minerals which can be utilised for yielding nutrient rich extract.
  • India being one of the major producers of spices has lot of potential for the usage of spice waste effectively. Extraction of spice oils and oleoresins produces about 80-90% of spice spent. These are rich in nutrients like proteins, dietary fibre and minerals. Spice spent produced from cumin, cardamom, chilli and ginger can be used in bakery products to enhance their nutritional needs. A study was made where turmeric spent was used in the preparation of bioactive film and in the management of diabetes and diabetic neuropathy.

Economic Opportunities and Community Development

Value-added products derived from tea, coffee, spices and herbs can create new revenue streams and economic opportunities for farmers, processors, and entrepreneurs. By monetizing waste materials, stakeholders along the value chain can generate additional income and improve profitability. It can also provide valuable employment opportunities in by product industries especially in rural areas. The labour intensive work and the value of these products will provide an increase in profitability, farm productivity and ensuring that these waste or by products are used effectively without harming the environment.


In order to establish a proper value chain and safe and a green environment, it is necessary to recycle the byproducts generated from the agro industries into valuable products by using appropriate treatment methods. Numerous bioactive compounds can be derived from food wastes. The conversion of agricultural waste into value-added products allows for the diversification of product portfolios and the development of innovative, niche market offerings. This can help businesses differentiate themselves, penetrate new markets, and stay competitive in the industry.

The use of novel technologies in extraction of the biocomponents from the byproducts provide various advantages including reducing waste, creating new economic prospects, promoting a circular economy, and developing functional food ingredients, cosmetics, and dietary supplements. 

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