Challenges hindering the commercialization of nutraceuticals derived from agri-food by-products
Several agri-food by-products carry a significant amount of bioactive compounds and could potentially be transformed into nutraceuticals within the circular economy framework. However, the full realization of this potential is hindered by logistics, technological, biological, and regulatory challenges, slowing down the development of a robust nutraceutical market. The present article discusses the need for innovative solutions to optimize waste collection and transportation. The technological challenges in extracting and preserving bioactive compounds call for advancements in unconventional extraction methods and encapsulation approaches. Biological challenges, particularly regarding the bioaccessibility and bioavailability of bioactive compounds, underscore the importance of tailoring delivery methods for optimal efficacy. In addition, selected regulatory aspects need to be highlighted in order to clarify the need for harmonization in ensuring the safety and efficacy of nutraceuticals. Despite challenges, the potential rewards include health benefits, economic growth, and environmental sustainability, driven by the pivotal role of scientific research and interdisciplinary collaboration to realize the vision of a circular economy in the agri-food sector.