India is the second-largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world. Acreage records show that the area under horticulture crops has also consistently been increasing in tune with the growing demand for fruits and vegetables in the country. The overall output of vegetables is estimated to be 194 million tonnes (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-troves 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.
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 or
160grams of vegetables. This is much lower than the recommendation of five servings or 400 grams a day by the World Health Organisation.
Fruit & Vegetable Production and Availability
|Total Vegetable Production
(in Million Tonnes)
|Per Capita Availability of Vegetables per day (in GMS.)||Total Fruit Production
(in Million Tonnes)
|Per Capita Availability of Fruits Per day
Utilization of High-Value Horticultural Unused
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 Unused is generated from fruit and vegetable-based industries and household kitchens and has led to a big nutritional and economic loss and environmental problems. Processing of fruits and vegetables alone generates a significant Unused, which amounts to 25–30% of the total product. Most common wastes include pomace, peels, rind, and seeds, which are highly 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 waste horticultural wastes for producing the value-added product is a novel step in its sustainable utilization. The present review intends to summarize the different types of Unused originating from fruits as well as vegetable peels and highlight their potential in developing edible films, probiotics, nanoparticles, carbon dots, microbial media, biochar, and biosorbents.
Production of Horticulture Crops in India
|SL. No.||Commodity||2018 – 19*||2019 – 20#|
|Area ‘000 Ha||Production‘000 MT||Area ‘000 HA||Production‘000 MT|
|[Note: * ─ Final, # ─ 1st Advance Estimate]|
Nature of potential fruit and vegetable losses and Unused
|SL. No.||Commodity||Nature of Waste||Typical Waste (in %)|
|2||Mango||Peel, Kernel Seed||45|
|5||Cauliflower||Stems, leaves||60 – 70|
The huge quantity of fruit and vegetables used and by-products produced throughout the world, both in the organized and unorganized sector 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.
Export of Vegetables & Fruits in India
The vast production base offers India tremendous opportunities for export. During 2020-21 (from April 2020 to February 2021), India exported fruits and vegetables worth INR. 4,404.57 crores (Weight 2,019,152.1 MT) which comprised of fruits worth INR. 3,520.17 crores (Weight 687,759.73 MT).
Export of Fresh Fruits & Vegetables (Qty. in MT, Value in INR. Lakh)
|2017 – 18||2018 – 19||2019 – 20|
Fresh Fruits & Vegetables
Bioactive compounds from popular fruits processing wastes and by-products.
|Commodity||Type of Waste||Bioactive Compound||Bioactivity|
|Mango||Kernel Seed||Phenolic acids||Antioxidant
|Peel||Carotenoids||Antioxidant, prevention of
age-related macular eye disease,
regulation of bone homeostasis.
|Banana||Peel||Phenolic acids||Antioxidant, antibacterial,anti-fungal activity, reducing blood sugar, lowering cholesterol,anti-angiogenic activity,
|Seeds||highest potassium concentration, organic acids
concentration assessed by titratable
|Lemon||Peel||Phenolic acids, Hydroxybenzoic acid
Caffeic acid, Apigenin-glucoside Diosmetin-glucoside, Eriocitrin
|Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer properties|
anti-bacteria, antioxidant activities.
|Cauliflower||Leaves & Stem||Protein, Carbohydrate, Crude fiber, Beta carotene, Iron||Kill cancer stem cells, thereby slowing tumor growth. improve blood pressure and kidney functions|
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 a 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 very good for health and now made to be very tasty. These are a range of over 40 items and here we will list a few for getting started.
Watermelon for a variety of Soups, vegetables, etc.
Watermelon has a red-colored center which is taken out and eaten in sized form or as juice. The white part and top green cover are thrown out. 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 can be cut into small slices and mixed with cut Tomato, onion and dropped in little heated oil. Add salt, pepper, heeng (Asafetida), coriander to taste to have a delicious vegetable dish.
- Leek Tops: The green parts of leeks can easily constitute more than a third of the leek! Instead of tossing them, chop them into bite-size pieces and cook to render them tender. I often toss them in stir fry. You can also add them to soups, stews, sauces, frittata, quiche, and many other dishes. Or simply use them instead of onion in your favorite recipe.
- Kale stems: Some varieties of kale have an awful lot of stems on them. You can chop these hard stems up very finely and cook them. Add them to soup or sneak them into sauces.
- Leave the Peals on That is right, we can eat peels. And not only are they edible, but they are also healthy for us. For example, a medium-sized banana peel can make a significant contribution to your daily recommended intake of various nutrients while apple skins pack more fiber (and heart-friendly flavonoids called quercetin) than the flesh itself.
Potato and cucumber skins too are loaded with vitamins and minerals. So next time make mashed potatoes or French fries, just scrub the potatoes well and leave the peels on! Even if you require de-peeled veggies for a recipe, you can fry the peels separately to make crispy fritters. On frying, the peels of green peas and potatoes transform into delicious dishes.
- Dips and Dals from greens: Root vegetables like beets and carrots are used extensively in the Indianextensive, with their leaves being generally discarded. These can, however, be used to make delicious dips, sauteed salads, and even super-healthy dals. Especially beet greens, a nutritious relative of rainbow chard that is less bitter than kale and much prettier on a plate.
- Peels of Citrus Fruits: Packed with immunity-boosting vitamins, anti-inflammatory flavonoids, and bone-building calcium, the peels of citrus fruits (oranges, sweet limes, and lemons) offer a wide range of health benefits. So before peeling citrus fruit, take a few minutes to grate the skin, add it to an airtight container and store it in the freezer. Here is the recipe for a candied citrus peel that can be used as a scrumptious sweet-sour garnish in a variety of desserts.
- Stock – full of flavor: Delicious homemade stocks are one of the simplest and smartest ways to reduce and re-use kitchen scraps. Throughout the week, collect the edible scraps (cauliflower stocks, ends of green beans, tomato tops, veggie peels, dehydrated greens, corn cobs, dried out garlic cloves) generated while prepping your food in a jar (or zip-lock bag) and freeze them. Once you have amassed a sizable quantity, put them into a pot of water. Bring to a boil before letting it simmer for an hour. Strain after cooling to make some ready-to-use vegetable stock. Great for making gravies and soups.
- No Waste of Thyme: Fresh herbs like coriander, mint, parsley, etc. are some of the most perishable items in the kitchen. And yet, often end up buying amounts that are bound to go wasted at home. So, if have some wilting herb leaves or herb stems on the chopping board, do not throw them away. Instead dry them well before mixing them into softened butter, infusing them in salad dressings, or making them with flavored salt. Coriander and mint stems can be used to make delectable broths and aromatic rasam. Also, do not discard the stalks of rosemary, parsley, and thyme. Natural flavor enhancers can be added to stocks or used to skewer veggies or meat while barbecuing.
- Beyond the Florets: It is time to stop giving florets all the attention. It turns out those often-discarded leaves/stems of broccoli and cauliflower possess culinary magic of their own. Chop up the gnarly stalks and cook them along with the florets, slice finely and add them to a stir-fry, or use them to make soup. Here is the recipe for cauliflower stalk pulao. Full of detoxifying nutrients, the succulent green leaves (avoid if they have turned yellow) can be used in the same recipes as lettuce, kale, and other salad greens. One of the nicest ways to eat them is to roast them with a little oil, garlic, and a sprinkling of spices.
- Chutneys to the Rescue: Getting to zero food Unused while creating lip-smacking food is not impossible: it just takes a little creative thinking. And nothing exemplifies the idea of ‘deliciousness on a shoestring’ better than wholesome chutneys made ingenuously from what is usually considered food ‘unused portion’. For instance, heerekaisippe chutney is a fiber-packed dish made from the peel of ridge gourds that tastes wonderful with dosa or akki roti. One can also make a chutney from coriander stems and stems of locally available greens like keerai. Other interesting examples are sorakka (bottle gourd) peel chutney, watermelon rind chutney, apple peel chutney, katchkola (raw banana) peel chutney, and orange peel chutney.
- DIY Peel Teas: A healthy flavor-packed drink, a fruit peel tea is the perfect way to warm your soul on a cold day. The most popular versions of this detox drink are pomegranate peel tea, orange peel tea, and apple peel tea. These peels have more antioxidants (such as flavonoids, phenolics, and anthocyanidins) than even the pulp inside. All one needs to do is add the peels to a pot of water, bring everything to a boil and turn off the heat. After the peels have been steeped for about 30 minutes, they can be removed and discarded. Interestingly, in Chinese medicine, these teas have traditionally been used to treat throat infections and chest congestion.
- Going to Seed: If you are a regular browser of health websites, you have heard of chia. But did you know about the many benefits of pumpkin seeds, papaya seeds, jackfruit seeds, and even mango seeds? Nutrient powerhouses that they are, these oft-discarded seeds can pack in quite a punch if added to your daily diet. Sem (flat bean) seeds, for instance, can help regulate mood swings, lower blood pressure, and reduce inflammation. Jackfruit seeds are known to give quick relief from indigestion, papaya seeds are great for renal health and pumpkin seeds can work wonders for your skin. Once dried, vitamin-rich mango seeds can also be used in a variety of ways.
Now let us analyze this from a national and each household point of view. The total watermelon production is 350,000 metric tons and 50% which firms the white layer is at present thrown out and if this can be used as an additional tasteful food item 175000 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.
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 because of the growing world population and the changing dietary habits. Higher production and growth, and the lack of proper handling methods and infrastructure, have led to huge losses and Unused 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 Unused every year (FAO 2014), and losses and avoid using of horticultural commodities are the highest among all types of foods, reaching up to 60%. Waste, 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 avoid using of horticultural commodities are high in developing as well as in developed countries but at different points of the handling chain. Avoid using some portion of vegetables and fruits after reaching the consumer is also very significant. The author has given a brief calculation that the total value of some selected fruit and vegetable losses at the consumer levels in India was US$6.67 billion.
Fruits and vegetable wastes occur throughout the supply chain and vary widely depending on their processing. The fruit and vegetable processing industries generated 10-60%Unused or by-products in both solid and liquid form. Unused material should be utilized in such a manner that the best possible benefits can be extracted without any monetary loss or environmental hazards. As fruits & vegetables are perishable, their wastes get rotten quickly.
Leaves of the fruits, vegetables, and floricultural crops can also be utilized for edible purposes. The process of converting delicious dishes helps in the prevention of the spread of the insects/disease to near crop or residential areas. Food Unused is a bigger problem than many people realize. In fact, nearly one-third of all food produced in the world is discarded or avoid using for various reasons. That equates to nearly 1.3 billion tons every year. Not surprisingly, industrialized countries like the United States waste more food than developing nations.
Tossing edible food doesn’t just waste money. Discarded food is sent to landfills, where it rots and produces methane gas, which is the second most common greenhouse gas. In other words, throwing out your food contributes to climate change.
It wastes a huge amount of water, too. According to the World Resources Institute, 24% of all the water used for agriculture is lost through food waste every year. That’s 45 trillion gallons (about 170 trillion liters). People often remove the skins of fruits and vegetables when preparing meals. But so many nutrients are located in the outer layer of fruits and vegetables. For example, apple skins contain a large amount of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
In fact, researchers have identified a group of compounds present in apple peels called triterpenoids. They act as potent antioxidants in the body and may have cancer-fighting abilities. These benefits are not limited to apple skin. The outer layers of potatoes, carrots, cucumbers, mangoes, kiwis, and eggplants are also edible and nutritious. Not only is eating the skin delicious, but it’s also economical and reduces your food waste impact.
There are endless ways you can reduce, reuse and recycle your food Unused. Not only will the practical tips in this article help you waste less food, but they may also save you money and time as well. By thinking more about the food your household wastes every day, you can help create positive change to conserve some of the earth’s most valuable resources. Even minimal changes to the way you shop, cook and consume food will help reduce your impact on the environment. It doesn’t have to be difficult. With a small amount of effort, you can cut your food waste dramatically, save money and time, and help take some pressure off Mother Nature.
Dr. P. Sekhar,
Global Smart City Panel,