Tomato waste is full of untapped, nutritious goodness, and could be used as a natural food additive, according to recent EU research.

Instead of using excess tomatoes for animal feed or simply discarding them, the EU TOM(ato) project suggests using the tomato waste as a natural food additive.

Every year, around 4 million tonnes of tomato by-products are disposed of in Europe alone. These dregs, especially the seeds, are an excellent source of nutrient-rich substances such as carotenoids, proteins, sugars, fibre and oils, the European Commission said.

The two-year TOM(ato) project, which began in May, aims to develop ways to treat tomato leftovers in a cleaner and cheaper way, without using chemicals to extract valuable nutrients, and reducing the overall amount of waste. To help with this project the European Union has contributed €425,000 (US$0.54m) towards the total costs of over €861,000.

For further information on the TOM project, click here.