Reducing food waste as well as converting waste products into second-life products are global challenges to promote the circular economy business model. In this context, the aim of this study is to quantify the environmental impact of lab-scale food preparations enriched with phenolic extracts from olive oil mill waste, i.e., wastewater and olive leaves. Technological (oxidation induction time) and nutritional (total phenols content) parameters were considered to assess the environmental performance based on benefits deriving by adding the extracts in vegan mayonnaise, salad dressing, biscuits, and gluten-free breadsticks. Phenolic extraction, encapsulation, and addiction to the four food preparations were analyzed, and the input and output processes were identified in order to apply the life cycle assessment to quantify the potential environmental impact of the system analyzed. Extraction and encapsulation processes characterized by low production yields, energy-intensive and complex operations, and the partial use of chemical reagents have a non-negligible environmental impact contribution on the food preparation, ranging from 0.71% to 73.51%. Considering technological and nutritional aspects, the extraction/encapsulation process contributions tend to cancel out. Impacts could be reduced approaching to a scale-up process.
Keywords: biocompounds; biscuits; circular economy; environmental sustainability; gluten-free breadsticks; life cycle assessment; salad dressing; shelf life; vegan mayonnaise; waste recovery.