Dunedin scientists turn food waste into food worth eating

Many of us are guilty of throwing out that stale loaf of bread or not using the funny-looking vegetable. 

But a group of Dunedin scientists will make you think again because they're turning food waste into food worth eating.

A plant-based blueberry ice cream made in a science lab in Dunedin has a unique twist as it was made out of food that otherwise would've been thrown out. 

The blueberries in the ice cream were under-ripe and the wrong size but that doesn't mean they aren't fit for human consumption.

"If you don't waste food, you save money, you save the planet because there's all the carbon emission associated with that and you feed people that might need food," the Prime Minister's chief science advisor Dame Juliet Gerrard told Newshub.

Dame Juliet visited a food science lab at Otago University, culminating with her release of the first report into food waste in New Zealand. 

The chief science advisor said reducing food waste also helps reduce our carbon footprint.

"If food waste was a country, people have calculated it might be the third or fourth worst emitter, so there's a huge opportunity to reduce our carbon footprint by stopping wasting food."

As well as easing the social and economic costs.

Food Science senior lab technician Sarah Johnson told Newshub: "Statistically, there are over a billion tonnes of food waste globally which actually equates to three trillion dollars wasted as well."

The food scientists in Dunedin are exploring ways we can reduce that. 

"We're taking food that would otherwise be wasted, so bread is a classic example, crackers, fruit leathers, beverages such as beer or soft drinks," food science professor Phil Bremer said.

Prof Bremer said it may seem like a new concept, but upcycling food has been around for decades. 

"Someone of my age would've grown up eating bread and butter pudding which is made with stale bread. Nowadays we're just trying to understand it on a commercial level."

Adding another dimension to the meaning of waste not want not.