There's a strange new superfood to get your head around, broccoli coffee. Which is exactly what it sounds like - coffee, but with broccoli in it.
Yep. We’re being serious. Australia’s national science agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (Csiro), has developed a powder made from broccoli that you’re supposed to add to your lattes.
On paper, it seems like a good idea (bear with us). As Csiro scientists have pointed out, people simply aren’t eating enough vegetables. And although they were talking about Australia, it's a problem in the UK, too. In 2016, think tank, the Food Foundation found that the vast majority of us were eating less than three-and-a-half (of the recommended five) portions of vegetables a day.
Mary Ann Augustin, the lead researcher who developed the broccoli powder, says that it’s high in protein and fibre, as well as something called “bioactive phytochemicals” which are apparently “health-promoting”.
In other words, adding broccoli to our coffee could be good news for our health, which makes some sense. And it wouldn't be the first time we've added food stuff to our drinks - people are already enjoying turmeric and spirulina-infused drinks - with both ingredients reported to have health benefits. Let's also not forget that roasted chicory root and coffee has been a thing since at least 1808. So why not broccoli?
Well, we guess the one glaring 'why not' is because it sounds kinda gross.
Despite what people on social media have to say, Csiro’s scientists are hoping broccoli coffee could take off in a big way.
“The powders are also an option for farmers who want to produce value-added vegetable ingredients for the lucrative functional food markets,” added Mary Ann.
Broccolattes would be made using “ugly” (bit harsh) broccoli, that would have otherwise been thrown away – meaning the drink could help combat food waste, which we know is a huge problem and affects many countries. Back in 2011 the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), discovered around one-third of the food produced for human consumption gets lost or wasted every year – which works out at about 1.3 billion tonnes.
And more recent research found that, here in the UK alone, 7.3 million tonnes of food was wasted in 2015 – that's around £13bn's worth.
In other words, it’s a good way for vegetable farmers to make something out of the wonky vegetables that would have otherwise ended up in the bin.
At the same time, the farmers can take advantage of the superfood craze that’s already given us matcha lattes and wheatgrass shots.
John Said, who works for a broccoli producer in Australia, agrees with Mary Ann, and says that broccoli coffee could be “the emerging new food trend”. “They will also be contributing to healthier lifestyles!” he adds.
You won't be able to order the drink in cafes just yet. Even though it exists, they're still trialling the broccoli powder with people to see if anyone would actually want to buy and drink it. So it may be a while before it actually hits the UK.
Either way we're torn: on the one hand, of course we want to do what we can to stop farmers having to throw away vegetables just because they didn't come first place in the broccoli beauty contest. And bonus points if it gives us a health boost in the process.
But then again… it’s broccoli coffee. It’s coffee with broccoli in it. And, if it tastes like it sounds like it tastes, we’ll probably give it a miss, thanks.
Source BBC News, May 2018