Move over turmeric and almonds. Broccoli lattes are now on the menu as part of a push to get Aussies to up their intake of fresh veges.
Bunches of broccoli deemed too imperfect looking to be stocked on shop shelves have been mashed up, dried and turned into a powder by the CSIRO and agriculture research group Hort Innovation.
Every two tablespoons of powder contains about one serve of broccoli, a vegetable that people either love or hate but one which health experts consider a superfood because it's packed with nutrients.
Commonfolk Coffee, a cafe in the Melbourne suburb of Mornington, has been experimenting with mixing the powder into espressos, lattes and flat whites, and sprinkling it on top.
Reactions from curious customers have been mixed, says cafe owner Sam Keck.
"We've found there's a subset of health-focused massive broccoli fans who love it as a full blown latte in the same way as you'd have a beetroot latte or a turmeric latte," he told AAP.
"And then there's another subset of people who are like, 'Urgh! That tastes like broccoli', but they've enjoyed it as a sprinkle on the top."
The cafe trial was launched in late March so CSIRO and Hort could test how palatable the powder is with consumers.
Hort originally took the idea for the powder to CSIRO as a way to help people to increase their vegetable intake and find a use for broccoli that would otherwise end up in landfill because food retailers had declined to buy it for aesthetic reasons.
They developed a process of drying the protein-and-fibre-rich vegetable without destroying any of its nutrients in the hope it could be added to all sorts of foods and drinks including coffee, soups, smoothies, pancakes and baked goods.
Hort's research and development general manager David Moore said talks were under way with a farmer to commercialise the powder so it can be sold in shops and cafes.
"It's a great way to consume vegetables when it really doesnt' seem like you're consuming vegetables," he said.
"Broccoli is so high-protein with fibre and general health-promoting ingredients but it tends to be underrated."
Dr Mary Ann August, chief research scientist with CSIRO's agriculture and food business, envisages the process behind the broccoli powder being adapted for other vegetables including carrots and kale.
"It actually gives farmers a new way of creating value from produce they couldn't otherwise get a good price for, and there's an environmental factor as well as it doesn't go to landfill," she said.
- Australian Associated Press