SME Solutions Centre – Value adding to underutilised/waste pumpkin produce | Fight Food Waste CRC
Select Page

SME Solutions Centre – Value-adding to underutilised/waste pumpkin produce

The challenge

Pumpkin is one of the major horticulture crops in Australia and more particularly in Queensland. Australia produces about 120,000 tonnes of pumpkins worth approximately $80m per annum, of which Queensland contributes 40 – 50% of the total production.

Daintree Fresh makes a major contribution to the Australian pumpkin industry with a production capacity of up to 30,000 tonnes per year worth roughly $20m. About 20-30% of their total production, which is worth around $5m, is lost or wasted due to various reasons.Daintree Fresh currently has large quantities of under-utilised/waste pumpkin. They want to explore avenues for value-adding and to create an industry that is both profitable and sustainable.

Our SME plan

A range of high-value products can be created from pumpkins, including

  • Pro-biotic pumpkin juice and powder – this is a low-calorie functional product helpful in managing blood glucose levels particularly in diabetic people and also promotes gut and bone health
  • Pumpkin freeze and thermal dried powders – suitable as food ingredients, natural colourants and also for high-value health and pharmaceutical applications and for carotenoids (beta carotene) extraction
  • Carotenoid (beta carotene) rich extract– will be extracted from freeze-dried powder for high-end pharmaceutical and nutraceutical applications. This is a proof-of-concept trial only
  • Pumpkin seed oil – cold press oil rich in Vitamin E (tocopherol), suitable for nutraceutical and cosmeceutical applications
  • Pumpkin seed proteins – rich in good amino acids and can be used in health, food and beverage applications.

This research will explore ways to process and produce these value-added products from the volumes of pumpkin that currently doesn’t make grade. Existing, as well as new processing technologies such as membrane separation, freeze/thermal drying and supercritical fluid extraction, will be utilised to produce these products.

If successful, this research will help to value add to around 1000 tonnes in 2020, between 4000-6000 tonnes in 2021, and more as Daintree expands their market.  This will help reduce up to 70% of the pumpkins that are lost or wasted every year in Australia, both improving the sustainability of the industry and the operations of Daintree Fresh.


Return to SME Solutions Centre main page

As this project progresses, we’ll share the good news on this page by adding information, links, images, interviews and more.


Case study


August 2020 – August 2021