Apple Peel Powder Makes Use of a Longtime Waste Product

May 20, 2014

For decades, applesauce makers were composting their apple peels.

In most applesauce productions, a lot of apple peel is leftover, and it usually ends up in compost. However, not wanting a perfectly nutritious part of the fruit to go to waste, one applesauce maker is reselling its apple peels as apple peel powder.

Leahy Orchards is the largest organic applesauce maker in North America, and besides wanting a better way to deal with all of its leftover peels, the company learned of exciting research being done to effectively process apple peels into powder. Cornell University researchers developed a concept and processing technology, and Leahy took the patent.

Under the name AppleActives (Abbotsford, BC, Canada), Leahy Orchards now supplies AppleActiv dried apple peel powder for dietary supplement and functional food and beverage markets. The ingredient boasts significant amounts of fiber, quercetin, anthocyanins, and ursolic acid-a compound linked to increased brown fat production in animal research. The company recently funded a study on the powder and found that, at 4.5 g, the apple peel powder can significantly improve joint comfort and mobility in adults after 12 weeks. Manufacturers are now entitled to a structure-function claim. Add 0.5 g more and a fiber claim is also possible.

But can shoppers really benefit from consuming pure peel? Why not just eat whole apples?

“There’s a difference between consuming a fresh apple and consuming the dried peel, because the peel is dried and milled into such a fine powder,” says Lorraine Leahy, AppleActives president. “What you’re doing is creating a measurable surface area for your digestion to access the compounds in the product. And fresh apple peel is actually known to be hard to digest.”

While AppleActiv has obvious potential for dietary supplements, Leahy says the ingredient may very well end up back in applesauce products. Pinkish in color and with a slight apple flavor, AppleActiv is sourced from a blend of North American apples, including Macintosh, Cortland, Ida Red, and Rome Beauty.