From fruit stones to tasty food: BayWa AG and Kern Tec GmbH agree strategic partnership
Upcycling rubbish reduces food waste and cuts consumption of resources in the food industry.
BayWa AG has become a strategic investor and partner of Kern Tec GmbH through its investment arm BayWa Venture GmbH. The start-up based in Austria has developed a range of technologies that turn the fruit stones that normally end up in the rubbish into tasty food. More than half a million tonnes of apricot, cherry, plum and peach stones are thrown away every year in Europe alone – and with them the seeds contained inside, which are a valuable raw material in food production.
“We need some out-of-the-box thinking if we are to really make progress when it comes to global food security,” says Marcus Pöllinger, BayWa Board of Management member whose responsibilities include German agricultural business. “Innovative solutions like upcycling food waste shows what is possible already from a technical standpoint – and what opportunities there are to both reduce the amount of food thrown away and also produce food in a more sustainable manner.”
Seeds from pome fruit stones are a real power food that provide valuable nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Each seed is made up of 25% protein, the same as turkey breast meat. Fruit seeds are among the most sustainable nuts on the market as they don’t require any agricultural land to grow and consume around 90% less water than other nuts such as almonds. Kern Tec specialises in turning these raw materials into gourmet oils, nougat cream and even dairy alternatives for its B2B customers. The husks that remain after cracking open the seeds are also used as a raw material in takeaway coffee cups or as an alternative to microplastics in cosmetics. The press cake left over from extracting the oil can also be recycled: a new technology that separates hydrocyanic acid is scheduled to go live in 2023.
“Kern Tec has a promising portfolio of sustainable fruit stone solutions,” says Kristal Golan, Head of New Protein Solutions and Senior Venture Manager at BayWa. “Here at BayWa, we firmly believe that consumers are very open to food made from fruit stones. Not only are they tasty, they are also good for us and the planet.”
Kern Tec has already upcycled over 1,000 tonnes of pome fruit stones at its production site in Herzogenburg, Lower Austria, and marketed the resulting materials to processing firms all over Europe. Consumers have also been able to purchase the products directly through the Wunderkern brand since April 2022.
BayWa Venture GmbH
BayWa Venture GmbH is the innovation arm of BayWa AG. Its goal is to find and roll out new business models for BayWa and its affiliates that make a lasting, measurable difference. One focus of the company’s investment is technology-based protein start-ups, where BayWa Venture already holds stakes in three fledgling companies: Amfora, Amai Proteins and YoFix Probiotics. More information is available at venture.baywa.com
BayWa has also summarised the market potential of alternative proteins from a consumer perspective in its BayWa Protein Future Report.
- © Kern Tec GmbH, reprint free of charge: The start-up Kern Tec transforms fruit pits that previously ended up in the trash into tasty food. The founding team (from left): Michael Beitl, Sebastian Jeschko, Luca Fichtinger, Fabian Wagesreither. 2.3 MB / JPEG Download
- © Kern Tec GmbH, reprint free of charge: Seeds from stone fruit, for example from apricots, cherries and plums (from left), are healthy powerhouses and are full of nutrients, minerals and vitamins. 1.6 MB / JPG Download