Linda Benedict, Prinyawiwatkul, Witoon
The term “value-added” broadly means “adding value to a product.” For food items, adding value implies a degree of innovation that makes a product more desirable to consumers, perhaps in terms of shelf stability, improved functionality, better color, texture, flavor and more convenience. Adding value to agricultural and aquacultural byproducts or wastes, however, implies “total resource use,” meaning that the byproducts or wastes are used as raw materials subjected to further processing into edible food items or functional ingredients. For value-added forestry or wood products, they are commonly thought of as being high-value products such as furniture, flooring or specialized paneling. Value, however, can be added to wood and wood products at various levels during processing. Development of more durable termite- and decay-resistant engineered wood products is an example.
Louisiana has several high-value agricultural, fishery and aquacultural commodities including crawfish, catfish, soybeans and rice that lend themselves to further processing and development of value-added industries. The dollar value for value-added for animal, fisheries, wildlife and plant commodities in 2001 was $3,853,788,970 compared to the gross farm income of $3,901,187,329. Louisiana may not be highly competitive in the high-technology industries, but we can compete in high-value and value-added agricultural production and processing.
Seafood and aquaculture production offers an immediate payoff and has a potential to become Louisiana’s highest dollar impact in the animal commodities; however, the problem is disposal of processing wastes. Additional cost on top of further processing is from disposal of processing byproducts and wastes. Louisiana seafood processors generate millions of pounds of wastes.
It is no longer practical to discard byproducts and wastes, especially when a significant amount of valuable raw materials can be recovered and used to produce value-added new products and functional ingredients. The magnitude of raw material for value-added products in Louisiana suggests a strong economic potential with major impact on the Louisiana seafood and aquaculture industries.
The outlook for more innovative and effective processing technology for byproduct recovery is promising. Value-added new product development using processing byproducts can convert an often negative or low-value byproduct into a product capable of covering the original processing and disposal costs, reducing the environmental damage and perhaps expanding the world’s food supply. Research on value-added is critical and challenging. In the long run, adding values to byproducts and processing wastes will affect the growth and economy of Louisiana tremendously.
This issue of Louisiana Agriculture provides a snapshot of research efforts under way in the LSU AgCenter to add value to agricultural and aquacultural byproducts and processing wastes. These include a concept of product development process of value-added products from processing wastes, the new value-added food processing tool, development of value-added from agricultural, seafood and aquacultural processing wastes, novel white beef products from undesirable cuts, development of valuable functional and health-promoting ingredients (chitosan, lutein, oryzanol from rice bran and beta-carotene), value-added forestry products and bioconversion of processing wastes from sugar industry.
Witoon Prinyawiwatkul, Associate Professor, and Michael Moody, Professor and Head, Department of Food Science, LSU AgCenter, Baton Rouge, La.
(This article was published in the fall 2002 issue of Louisiana Agriculture.)