Australia Today

Australian Farmers Are Developing Broccoli Pills to Reduce Organic Waste

It's thought that capsules containing an entire serving of vegetables could be the future of food.
Gavin Butler
Melbourne, AU
Broccoli pill with broccolis and cauliflowers
Image via MaxPixel (L) and PeakPx (R)

Imagine if you could take a pill that contained a whole serving of vegetables. The benefit would be two-fold: on the one hand, the huge quantities of waste that are regularly generated on horticultural farms around the world would be put to good use. On the other, you’d no longer have to worry about that whole pesky business of chewing your food.

A handful of Australian farmers, scientists, and nutraceutical companies are working on making this science-fiction premise a reality: grinding vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower down into nutrient-rich powders and peddling them in capsule form, according to the ABC. One of those farmers is John Said, who grows vegetables on 2,000 hectares of land across the country.


When it comes to harvest time, about 15 percent of Said's crop is left on the ground—and he told the ABC he’s interested in finding a way to solve this issue of waste. Currently, at produce farms all around Australia, up to one third of fruit and vegetables are wasted before they even make it to market.

"We've always thought about food waste, we've always thought about yield, but we've never been able to truly get a market or a particular process that addresses that issue," said Said. "So I think we're the closest we've ever been to being able to address an issue like that."

The CSIRO approached Said a couple of years ago asking if they could turn his vegetables into powders—starting with broccoli, the most nutritious of the bunch. It then took 18 months to develop a powder with nearly all the same nutrients as fresh broccoli. The CSIRO hopes to have products on supermarket shelves within the next year—including broccoli muffins and dips—while nutraceutical companies like Swisse are looking at getting broccoli powder into some caps.

"I mean it's a pretty big ask to say to someone 'here, just take this pill and it's a broccoli pill'. But in the future, who knows?" said Said. "I mean if it's got other vitamins and minerals and perhaps other oils as well and it serves a really good purpose for the body, then by all means let's develop that."

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