Functional fiber with color
Tomato pomace has the potential to provide additional nutrition and health benefits
According to the US Department of Agriculture, tomatoes are the second most popular vegetable crop behind potatoes, with an annual average per capita consumption of 71 pounds going into juice, sauce and paste. The backstory is that 10-30% of this is seeds, skin and pulp, with no ready market in the human food aisle. This translates into an estimated 750,000 metric tons of dried tomato pomace potentially available to pet and livestock feed markets.
Given that the US ranks about fifth in the world acreage of tomatoes grown, tomato pomace could be a readily available ingredient for petfood. To that end, we are seeing a growing number of petfoods for which tomato pomace appears on the ingredients list.
Is this growing popularity a function of cost and availability, or does tomato pomace impart some nutritional benefit to petfood? Yes and yes.
From vine to powder
Tomato pomace is commonly traded on an air-dry basis (approx. 5-10% moisture) at a composition of around 20% protein, 13-15% fat, 3-5% ash and 25-35% crude fiber. The Association of American Feed Control Officials defines it as "the dried mixture of tomato skins, pulp and crushed seeds."
Tomato pomace starts with the processing of whole tomatoes into juice, sauce or paste. The tomatoes are pressed to expel the juice, then separated from the seeds, skins and most of the pulp. The resulting residue contains enough moisture (approx 60-70%) that it must be dried to keep from spoiling.
Once dried, the residue is ground or pulverized…