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Harvest automation and upcycling tech to deliver broccoli protein

02-02-2023 | |
A £500k investment into broccoli protein specialist, upp will support the commercialisation of the company’s harvest automation and upcycling technologies. - Photo: upp
A £500k investment into broccoli protein specialist, upp will support the commercialisation of the company’s harvest automation and upcycling technologies. - Photo: upp

The British broccoli protein specialist, upp combines AI-harvest automation technology and side stream upcycling to deliver sustainable and nutritious broccoli protein.

upp’s harvesting equipment uses 3D cameras and machine learning to identify broccoli heads that are ready for harvesting even if they are partially obscured by leaves. A patented tractor-towed tool then cuts and lifts the whole plant onto a trailer where the heads are separated from the leaf and stalk.

upp claims its harvest automation replaces seven seasonal agricultural workers, and can work at night, preventing wastage and increasing yields.

Broccoli protein

After the broccoli heads have been harvested and delivered to market, upp focuses on the 80% of the broccoli plant that would otherwise go to waste. This 80% is left for “uppcycling” into proteins and ingredients.

To support upp’s harvest automation and upcycling technologies, Elbow Beach Capital announced a £500k investment into the Shropshire-based broccoli protein specialist.

Also read: Dutch students developing broccoli harvesting robot

Field-to-protein pilots

The funding will be used to pilot both upp’s harvest and uppcycling technology this year, with the company aiming to complete three field-to-protein pilots in the UK, Spain and California by the end of 2024. First commercial production of upp’s broccoli protein is expected to commence in late 2024.

According to upp the global plant protein market is currently worth over £30bn and is expected to surpass £130 billion by 2030. upp estimates that once its potential is unlocked, the broccoli-based protein market alone could be worth over £35bn by 2030. upp aims to be generating first revenues in 2024, growing to more than £50 million in revenue in its three pilot markets in 2027.

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Claver
Hugo Claver Web editor for Future Farming
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