Photo of Enrique González

Biotechnology & medicine

Enrique González

Converting discarded fruits and vegetables into natural nutrients that improve the quality of processed foods

Year Honored

Latin America

Hails From

"When Enrique González was 15, he was told that if he didn´t watch his diet, he would become diabetic like his father and his uncles. As a result, his first company, Naturalight, focused on the development of high fiber, low sugar fruit preserves. But when he visited farms in the Michoacan region (Mexico), he discovered an enormous amount of food products in perfectly good condition are wasted due to aesthetic or other reasons. So he decided to design a method for recovering the parts of the fruit and vegetable harvests that are currently wasted and turn them into healthy and nutritious food additives.

González, who has been named as one of MIT Technology Review, Spanish edition´s Innovators Under 35 Mexico 2016 thanks to this idea, highlights: ""With this technology we can reap the value of anything considered waste. The process uses both the [fruit or vegetable] itself as well as its nutrients.""

Through his company Genius Foods (previously EatLimmo), González gathers the seeds, stems and skin or peel of the fruits and vegetables discarded by the food industry and extracts the fiber, proteins and antioxidants. The result is a hypoallergenic powder capable of imitating the function of other, more harmful ingredients of processed foods. It can serve, for example, as a low cost substitute for more fatty compounds, improve the taste of a product and facilitate the emulsion of certain ingredients.

Several food companies are already using the powders created by González and his team, whose properties vary according to the original prime material. To date, they have made use of several parts of mangos, apples and broccoli. One of his most interesting products is an egg-free mayonnaise. González explains: ""With our development, we have made a lower calorie mayonnaise high in fiber made from one part oil, one part water."""