Accessibility statement

‌Re-SAUCE - Sustainable, Alternative Uses for food waste in the Circular Economy 

Case Studies

Citrus Peel - a business and environmental case for an improved method for pectin extraction

Postharvest peavine field residue - releasing peavine function ingredient potential


EPSRC (Systems Change funding call - Towards a Circular Economy)

Project Title: Whole systems understanding of unavoidable food supply chain waste for re-nutrition

Grant Reference: EP/P008771/1

Duration: 1 January 2017 - 31 December 2018

‌Research Team

Dr Avtar Matharu, Professor James Clark, Dr Tom Dugmore

External Collaborators

The project is a joint collaboration between the universities of York (Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence), Loughborough (Centre for Sustainable Manufacturing and Recycling Technologies) and Nottingham (School of Biosciences).

The project has its own External Advisory Group consisting of representatives from 8 different UK companies who are ideally placed to help the project have a positive impact on the entire UK food manufacturing sector. 


Food & drink is the largest manufacturing sector in the UK and around 9.9 million tonnes of food waste and by-products are generated per year of which 56% is considered unavoidable. Unavoidable food supply chain waste (UFSCW) is a readily available biomass which contains a treasure trove of unexploited bio-based chemicals, with a range of potential commercial applications. Current strategies for dealing with UFSCW are rudimentary and low value and these include incineration, anaerobic digestion, animal feed and bedding, composting, ploughing back into the soil and landfill. In addition, UFSCW lost after harvest and along the distribution and consumption chains have a dual negative environmental impact by: i) placing undue pressure on natural resources and ecosystem services; ii) increasing pollution through food discards. 

This project will explore different feedstocks (brewers spent grains, pea vine waste, out of specification potatoes, out of specification citrus fruits) and will undertake four inter-related tasks to verify new technologies and process-driven whole systems change understanding of UFSCWs within the context of a circular economy.

Task 1: Waste Flow Modelling  

Objective: to assess the viability of identified food waste streams via bespoke modelling

Task 2: Technologies and processes

Objective: to assess current and innovative technologies and processes for exploiting UFSCW enabling accelerated implementation in future manufacturing.

Task 3: Environmental analysis through Life Cycle Assessment

Objective: to assess environmental ramifications of industrial technologies and processes

Task 4: Whole systems change and Circular Economy

Objective: to assess implications of whole systems change on circularity and responsible innovation for upgrading of UFSCW.


‌Systems Change approach to Unavoidable Food Supply Chain Waste

Logistics and a waste flow modelling tool will be used to demonstrate how the current low-value practices for managing food supply chain waste may be changed.  Key enabling technologies and new processes will be used to extract and isolate high value compounds and chemicals from the waste and apply these for novel functional food ingredients and novel non-food applications.



The project is funded in the UK through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

Image of a researcher in the field holding green crops.