Facing a climate emergency and an increasingly unhealthy population, functional foods should not only address health issues but must be prepared from sustainable ingredients while contributing to our sustainable development goals, such as tackling waste and promoting a healthy environment. High-protein crop flours, i.e., buckwheat, hemp and fava bean, are investigated as potential matrices to be fortified with key bioactive phytochemicals from soft fruits to explore potential waste valorization and to deliver sustainable functional food ingredients. Hemp flour provided the best matrix for anthocyanin fortification, adsorbing of 88.45 ± 0.88% anthocyanins and 69.77 mg/kg of additional phytochemicals. Buckwheat and fava bean absorbed 78.64 ± 3.15% and 50.46 ± 2.94% of anthocyanins 118.22 mg/kg and 103.88 mg/kg of additional phytochemicals, respectively. During the fortification, there was no detectable adsorption of the berry sugars to the flours, and the quantities of free sugars from the flours were also removed. One gram of fortified hemp flour provides the same amount of anthocyanins found in 20 g of fresh bilberries but has substantially less sugar. The optimum conditions for high protein flour fortification with anthocyanins was established and showed that it is a viable way to reduce and valorize potential agricultural waste, contributing to a circular and greener nutrition.
Bibliographical noteFunding: This research was funded by the Scottish government’s Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services Division (RESAS).
Acknowledgments: The authors acknowledge Viv Buchan from the Analytical Department, The Rowett Institute, University of Aberdeen, for her help with the sugar content determinations.
- fava bean
- flour fortification
- functional food
- soft fruit
- agricultural waste