Created by agricultural group Hort Innovation and Australian government science agency CSIRO, the powder is made from 100% broccoli, and produced using a combination of selected pre-treatment and drying processes to retain the natural colour, flavour and nutrient composition of the fresh plant.
Not just a cunning way to sneak more veg in your diet, the formula is also designed to help cut down on food wastage. Over one-third of all food produced globally is lost or wasted, and waste occurs all the way along the chain – not just in shops and households, but on farms too. By making the powder entirely from broccoli deemed too 'visually imperfect' to be sold in shops, the scientists hope to reduce food loss on farms and create a new revenue stream for farmers.
The broccoli powder is now being tested on consumers across Australia in the hope that it will soon be sold on supermarket shelves. One café is already giving it a test run – the 'broccolatte' is on the menu at Commonfolk Café in Melbourne – and while some are loving the new healthy coffee, others aren’t convinced; one described it as a cup of “green, milky mush”.
CSIRO says its next step is to take the powder into "further product development" (fingers crossed for a more appealing latte), and recommends adding the powder in its current form to smoothies, dips, soups and cakes. "We’ve tested this with parents and even kids who thought they were a pretty tasty way to help bump up their veggie intake," they added.
But while broccoli is a nutritional powerhouse of a veggie – a good sourse of iron and potassium, vitamins A, C, E, K and B vitamins including folic acid – it may not be as effective in powder form. Research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry in 2011 assessed whether vegetables turned into supplements could be as beneficial as they were in their original form, finding that the body absorbs far fewer nutrients found in broccoli when consumed as a supplement.
Greens powders aren't a replacement for the real thing, but they could be the solution for getting your ten-a-day – as recommended by researchers at University College London. A 2014 study discovered that people who consumed at least seven portions of fruit and vegetables per day were 42% less likely to suffer premature death than those who ate only one portion.
Vegetables were found to be more beneficial than fruit, lowering the risk of death by 16% – fruit, the other hand, only lowered it by only 4%. The study’s author, Dr Oyinlola Oyebode, said, “The clear message here is that the more fruit and vegetables you eat, the less likely you are to die at any age. My advice would be however much you are eating now, eat more.” Broccoli latte anyone?
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