A Leicestershire company has developed a crunchy new apple snack using fruit that would previously have gone to waste, thanks to a grant from the Food and Drink iNet.

Omniceutica Limited has invented a process which transforms pulp from cider making, as well as surplus, ungraded or bruised fruit, into bite-sized servings.

The firm, based at Asfordby Business Park, near Melton Mowbray, was awarded almost £10,000 from the Food and Drink iNet under a Collaborate to Innovate project to develop the concept.

Part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and run by trade organisation the Food and Drink Forum, the iNet aims to encourage innovation in the East Midlands food and drink sector.

Glen Martyn, director at Omniceutica said: “We are converting a freely available resource that is currently seen as waste from the fruit processing and cider industries into a nutritious and commercially viable snack. The amount of food wasted throughout the food industry is of huge financial and environmental concern so the timing of this innovation is right.”

Jo Murphy, an advisor with the Food and Drink iNet, said that tackling waste and finding alternative uses for by-products in the food and drink sector was a key target for the industry.

“The Food and Drink iNet has funded a number of projects under its Collaborate to Innovate programme which focus on positive ways of reducing waste in the sector,” she said. “Omniceutica has come up with an inventive way of creating a new product using ingredients that would previously have been thrown away.

“The technology will also benefit small and medium-sized enterprises in the East Midlands, such as cider makers and other producers, who could now have a productive outlet for some of their waste products – saving money on disposal costs and creating additional revenue.”

Omniceutica is a specialist product developer and offers other services through its consultancy. One of its specialist areas is in food, offering its research and development services to companies, ranging from start-ups through to larger global organisations.

Omniceutica develops and produces pilot-scale production batches to test ideas and concepts in readiness for commercial scale up.

The iNet grant has funded work to source ingredients and develop a new drying process that is less energy intensive and retains more nutrients than conventional systems.

The work has also involved experts from the University of Nottingham carrying out initial analysis of the snack’s nutrient content.

Omniceutica is exploring patent issues before the product is prepared for marketing and sale through licensing agreements to larger manufacturers.

Since the company was formed in 2010, its staff have collaborated with clients locally, nationally and around the world. It also works with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and has substantial expertise in intellectual property and patents.

The Food and Drink iNet, is managed by a consortium, led by the Food and Drink Forum and including Nottingham Trent University, the University of Lincoln, and The University of Nottingham.

It is based at Southglade Food Park, Nottingham, with advisors covering the East Midlands region to offer a range of support to small and medium-sized enterprises that work in the sector.

For more information about the Food and Drink iNet visit www.foodanddrink-inet.org.uk

Press release issued by Nottingham PR company Perfect 10 PR www.perfect10pr.co.uk