In this article, a path-breaking strategy is suggested for better health with negligible cost. A detailed analysis of the use of vegetables and fruits has come with a unique solution for very strategic use of certain parts which have high nutrient value to be used for new food items. These are very tasty and good for health and comes free as these are at present thrown out. Indians would stand to gain up to INR. 3 lakh crore in a year if this is taken up as a National initiative as explained in this article. Let us understand India’s present position in this sector and Indian’s versatility in a variety of food products. India has the largest no of food, fruits, milk products and is the second-largest producer of fruits and vegetables and the largest producer of milk products in the world. Acreage records show that the area under horticulture crops has also consistently been increasing in tune with the growing population and demand for fruits and vegetables in the country. The overall output of vegetables is estimated to be 194 million tons (MT) in 2020 – 21 compared to 189 MT in the previous year. And the production of fruits is estimated at around 133 MT in 2020 – 21.
Fruit &Vegetable (F&V) are the treasure trove of several vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients &fiber which act as protective foods that impart health benefits such as preventing cardiovascular disease (CVD), hypertension, obesity, diabetes, and cancer. The dietary guidelines for Indians recommend diversifying the individual’s diet with a variety of foods and consuming at least 400 to 500 g of F&V for a healthy life.
|Fruit & Vegetable Production and Availability|
|Total Vegetable Production
(in million tons)
|Per Capita Availability of Vegetables per day (in GMS.)||Total Fruit Production
(in Million Tons)
|Per Capita Availability of Fruits Per day
Let us analyze the food consumption pattern, the average intake of fruit and vegetables was 3.5 servings of 280 grams per day. It comprised of 1.5 servings of 120 grams of fruit and two servings of 160 grams of vegetables. This is much lower than the recommendation of five servings or 400 grams a day by the World Health Organisations. This is growing by the day as the purchasing capacity and distribution networks are growing up.
Proper Utilization of Horticultural Items
Fruits and vegetables are the universally used food products amongst the horticultural crops. These items are consumed uncooked, nominally cooked, or fully cooked, according to their nature and cooking process. With the change in diet habits and rising population, the production, as well as the processing of horticultural crops, has exponentially improved to meet its increasing demand. A large amount of peel and other materials from fruit and vegetable-based industries are at present unused and disposed of as such leading to a big nutritional and economic loss with environmental problems. The processing of fruits and vegetables alone generates significant by-products, which amounts to 25–30% of the total product. The most common ones include pomace, peels, rind, and seeds, which are rich in valuable bioactive compounds such as carotenoids, enzymes, polyphenols, oils, vitamins, and many other compounds. These bioactive compounds show their application in various industries such as food to develop edible films, food industries for probiotics, and other industries for valuable products. The utilization of these low-cost horticultural valuables can be used for producing the value-added product is a novel step in its sustainable utilization. The present review intends to summarize the different types of avoidable portions from fruits as well as vegetable peels and highlight their potential in developing edible films, probiotics, nanoparticles, carbon dots, microbial media, biochar, and bio sorbents.
Production of Horticulture Crops in India
|SL. No.||Commodity||2018 – 19*||2019 – 20#|
|Area ‘000 Ha||Production
|Area ‘000 HA||Production
|[Note: * ─ Final, # ─ 1st Advance Estimate]|
Nature of Avoidable Portion of F & V
|SL. No.||Commodity||Nature of Unused Portion||% of portion commonly avoid using|
|2||Mango||Peel, Kernel Seed||45|
|5||Cauliflower||Stems, leaves||60 – 70|
The huge quantity of fruit and vegetable covering portion and by-products produced throughout the world, both in the organized and un-organized sectors can be effectively utilized. These resources, i.e. peels, pomace, and seeds, etc. are rich sources of bioactive compounds, which can be extracted and utilized in food, cosmetic, pharmaceutical, and bio-fuel industries.
New Innovations in Food and Agriculture for bringing Healthy, tasty food at negligible cost.
There are some unique developments in the Food and Agriculture sector to get new varieties of eatables with higher quality in taste and healthy at negligible cost. Yes, you heard it right. These are through great research done during this COVID – 19 Era and the results are very encouraging.
This is the wonder of wonder as in this case the new varieties are being made from parts of vegetables, fruits which are routinely thrown out which have been used to make these new dishes. These are exceptionally good for health and now made to be very tasty. These are a range of a large number of items that can be made and here we will list a few for getting started. These are only examples
- Taking Watermelon as a sample for this study to make a variety of soups, vegetables, etc.
Watermelon has a red-colored center which is taken out and eaten in sliced form or as juice. The white part called Rind and top green cover are generally thrown out at present. Here we are taking out the white part which is cut to pieces. Optionally one can add Tomato, carrot, etc. in small quantities and boiled with salt, pepper, jeera, ginger, and crushed in mixie. After cooling it is filtered and boiled again and taken as Soup. This is delicious and particularly good for health.
- The same white part of Watermelon Rind can be cut into small slices and optionally made into a delicious vegetable dish like any others. Watermelon is nature’s candy, Research shows Watermelon is rich in citrulline, an amino acid that relaxes and dilates blood vessels. It has also been shown to reduce muscle soreness in athletes and might even help fight free radicals
Now let us analyze this from national and each household point of view with an example with watermelon whole total production is 350,000 metric tons and 32% which forms the white layer is at present thrown out and if this can be used as additional tasteful food item 112000 metric tons is available free to the consumer. This would bring great relief to the consumer getting this amount back in circulation along with better food for the citizens.
Secured Governance for seamless growth: Fruits and vegetables have a crucial role in our diet and human life, and therefore the demand for such important food commodities has increased very significantly as a result of the growing world population and the changing dietary habits. Through the doctrine of Secured Governance, we can get these values back in the system for great benefit to the stakeholders, and here it is the country and the people. Higher production and growth, and the lack of proper handling methods and infrastructure, have led to huge losses and waste of these important food commodities, as well as their components and by-products, and residues. United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has estimated that at least one-third of the food produced in the world (estimated as 1.3 billion metric tons) is lost and wasted every year, and losses and waste of horticultural commodities are the highest among all types of foods, reaching up to 60%. An avoidable portion of F&V, on the other hand, is food that is fit for consumption but is not consumed and instead discarded, and this generally relates to consumer or end-user behavior. Losses and avoidable portions of horticultural commodities are high in developing as well as in developed countries but at different points of the handling chain. An avoidable portion of vegetables and fruits after reaching the consumer is also significant. A brief calculation that the total value of some selected fruit and vegetable losses at the consumer levels in India has given an estimation of INR. 8 per person per day. When we take it across all Indians it gives a massive INR. 3 lakh crores per annum which can be recycled seamlessly back into the Economy.
Fruits and vegetables thrown out occur throughout the supply chain and vary widely depending on its processing. The fruit and vegetable processing industries generated 10-60% by-products in both solid and liquid form. These materials should be utilized in such a manner that the best possible benefits can be extracted without any monetary loss or environmental hazards. Leaves of the fruits, vegetables, and floricultural crops can also be utilized in an above similar way for edible purposes. The process of converting delicious dishes also helps in prevention in the spread of the insects/disease to the near crop or residential area.
Dr. P. Sekhar,
Global Smart City Panel,