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Leftover bread turned into sustainable pasta

An idea developed by students at Technical University of Denmark, DTU, transforms perishable, left over bread for durable sustainable pasta.

The idea has been developed for The Round Table – an organisation providing meals to socially deprived people using excess food and thereby also reducing food waste. The idea was developed in a course on innovation taught by researchers from DTU’s Food institute. Bread is a product often ending up in the bin instead of the belly. According to Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark about 700,000 tons of edible food gets thrown out each year in Denmark. Bread makes out about 1/10 of this and The Round Table organisation is offered bigger bulks of left over bread than they can dispose of, partly because the bread goes dry.

Old bread makes out half the new products

Six students from Technical University of Denmark have, through an interdisciplinary collaboration, found a solution that will make use of the donated bread and reduce costs for the organisation at the same time. They have invented a recipe for pasta made with 50% old bread, flour and eggs. The product is called Pasta di Pane, Italian for pasta bread. Before going into production, the bread is checked for mould which can make people ill and once the pasta is finished it is dried or put into cold storage, extending the storage life considerably. The students have calculated the development of microorganisms in the products to make sure that the pasta is eaten before the expiration date. The pasta has several advantages: it contains fewer carbohydrates as well as more protein and fat than normal pasta, and then The Round Table can also reduce the expenses for purchase of large bulks of pasta spend when making lasagne. Whilst the ready-made pasta costs 12 kr. per kilo the homemade product is half price. The students have tested the concepts at the big Danish music festival Roskilde as part of The Round Table’s effort to collect left over food. Here they’ve shown that one man can make approximately five kilos of pasta and hour, using a normal pasta machine.

Innovation in action

Pasta di Pane is a concept developed in the course Innovation Pilot which is a mandatory course for diploma engineer students. Amongst the teachers are scientists from DTU Food product institute teaching the students to translate theory into practice and benefitting society. The institute has an ambition to put research findings into innovative and productive solutions for the industry and public authorities. During the course the students have been learning how their specialised competences can be used in new interdisciplinary contexts because innovation models, tools and methods are universal. This has made them capable of creating an innovative solution overstepping their individual fields respectively construction, infrastructure, machine technology, health technology and food product security and quality.

The concept of the project is desribed in more detail in the poster: From unwanted surolus bread to sustainable pasta (pdf). The students will develop the idea futher so the production of the pasta can be even cheaper and more sustainable by incorporating surplus food products such as juice from fruit and vegetables instead of eggs.

The has been carried out by six diploma engineers: Arsal Zareen (Construction and infrastructure), Camilla Zimmer Svendsen (Machine technology), Lea Løvendahl Jensen og Maria Sejersen (Health technology), Mikkel Duvier Stærmose og Oliver Ørnfeld-Jensen (Food security and food quality).

Source: DTU Food