Is Scotland making the most out of its broccoli harvest?

Scottish producers are starting to focus on the untapped possibilities of broccoli, and innovation is definitely the key to unlocking the full market potential of the nation’s favourite veg.

Last year broccoli came out tops in a poll by Diabetes UK to discover Scotland’s favourite vegetable. Since taking home the crown, the buzz around broccoli has continued apace, and producers has been sitting up and listening.

So, how’s Scotland’s food and drink industry getting to grips with this all-star vegetable?

A green Scottish treasure

According to research from the Scottish government, broccoli accounted for 9% of Scottish vegetable production in 2016.

Health wise, broccoli ticks many boxes. It’s rich in iron, calcium, potassium, selenium, and magnesium, as well as essential vitamins and antioxidants. No wonder then that it’s ending up in a broad range of foods.

Broccoli products

Spend just a few minutes scanning supermarket shelves and you’ll come across broccoli burger patties, broccoli fries with potatoes and beans, broccoli pasta, rice and broccoli tots.

Broccoli crisps are the latest healthier crisps alternative to hit the commercial market. Dehydrated, freeze-dried broccoli florets, or crisps made with broccoli and rice flour are already popular in the US and Australia. Now a group of Scottish producers have joined forces and entered this market.

Scotland’s Growers Garden

A group of farmers from the co-operative, East of Scotland Growers, have banded together to launch Scotland’s first broccoli crisp brand, Growers Garden. Available from September this year, the Growers Garden range includes four flavours of broccoli crisps: naked, chilli, sour cream and chive, and cheese.

The crisps are made of 27% ‘wonky broccoli’ of the sort that would usually go to waste. With claims that the crisps are high in fibre and low in calories, broccoli crisps are being seen as a lucrative and healthier alternative within the snacking category.

But broccoli opportunities abound across the globe, with many companies looking into commercialising the holistic properties of broccoli.

Broccolatte: the next big thing?

In Australia, there’s a new broccoli product on the market - the broccolatte. Australian government agency, CSIRO, has developed a nutritious powder, made from ‘ugly’ bunches of broccoli.

Two tablespoons of broccoli powder are equal to one serving of broccoli, making it a high-dense source of fibre and essential minerals and vitamins. The powder can be added in a range of supplements and beverages, adding value to these products.

A US broccoli start-up

TrueBroc, has extracted the beneficial antioxidant, glucoraphanin, from broccoli, and incorporated it into Brassica tea and coffee, as well as supplements.

The company claims that the glucoraphanin extract helps boost the body’s natural defences, enhances detoxification and acts as an anti-inflammatory.

Growth opportunities

So, is broccoli the new kale? If it is, Scottish producers and manufacturers have great opportunities to invest in the value-added broccoli market.

If you want to understand more about the use of broccoli products in Scotland, or another part of the food and drink sector, our innovation team can help you realise your company's potential.

If you’re looking to become more innovative, and improve product development, your processes, or your workforce, then contact us and find out how we can help you make a real difference to your business.

Innovation support for Scottish food and drink companies

Make Innovation Happen is a single source of innovation support for businesses involved in the Scottish food and drink supply chain.

Scotland Food & Drink, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands & Islands Enterprise work in partnership across academia, the public sector and the industry to deliver a comprehensive innovation support service.

Make Innovation Happen can help your business by providing:

  • Access to 'connectors', who can offer support, advice and mentoring, as well as direction to appropriate support
  • Ideas and insights on how to innovate through articles and events
  • Funding through the Collaborative Innovation Fund
  • Help to access other innovation services provided by Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands & Islands Enterprise, Interface and others

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