Photo: DTU Fødevareinstituttet

Out-of-the-box thinking transforms carrot peel into carrot flour

Food, fish and agriculture Food production

Carrot peel is turned into flour instead of compost thanks to an idea developed by DTU students during a course on innovation and collaboration. The course lecturers include researchers from the National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark.

During the production of fresh cut produce and freshly squeezed juices at fruit and vegetable supplier Greens Wholesale, approximately 100 tonnes of biological waste is generated every month. This waste is converted into biogas or fertilizer, but is still an expense.

During the Innovation Pilot course at DTU, which is mandatory for the university´s bachelor of engineering students, Greens Engros have asked the students to think outside the box and come up with ways to optimize the company´s production line and find sustainable and profitable ways to recycle carrot peel and pulp from the production. Pulp is the mass that is left after the juice has been squeezed out of the carrots.

Carrot flour can replace wheat flour

A method for processing the biological waste into carrot flour is one of the ideas, which was named a winner. In many recipes, the carrot flour can replace up to half of the wheat flour required.

Greens Engros and the students are working together to develop the idea and they hope to launch the carrot flour onto the market within a year. By creating a new product, the company can turn an expense into a source of revenue.

Another idea, which was generated during the Innovation Pilot course, was to equip Greens Engros´ staff on the sorting line with yellow safety glasses. They make it easier to see spots and bruises on the carrots, thus aiding the process of removing damaged carrots. The idea has already been incorporated into the production line.

In addition, Greens Engros has filed away a number of other innovative proposals, which they will have a closer look at down the line in order to assess whether implementing them makes sense, both from a practical and a financial point of view.


Innovation Pilot is geared towards small and medium enterprises, who want to establish a collaboration with DTU. The collaboration is a win-win for both parties: The challenges provide the students with a real-life context in which they can apply the theories they have learned for the benefit of society. At the same time, businesses get fresh ideas that can help them solve different challenges.

“The collaboration with DTU has also created an increased focus on innovation within the company, which has increased employee motivation,” COO Lars-Erik Rasmussen says.

Interdisciplinary innovation

Innovation Pilot is held three times a year for all students from DTU's 17 bachelor of engineering programmes. During the course, students learn that their subject-specific skills are useful in a new interdisciplinary context because the innovation models, tools and methods are universal.

Among the lecturers are researchers from the National Food Institute. One of the institute’s important tasks is to translate the institute’s research results within the areas of food and health into innovative and value-added solutions for business and government.

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The idea behind the carrot flour was developed in an interdiscipinary team made up of six bachelor of engineering students—two of whom are studying Food Safety and Quality: Laura Teken Hansen, Rasmus Gottenborg Kajbæk, Maja Nykvist Larsen, Ingrid Reiter Nielsen, João Antonio Basso Rezende og Susanne Storgaard. Their concept is described in further detail in a poster: INNOMIX.