This case is a very good example of circular economy utilizing the full potential of the whole potatoes. From the waste potatoes, they produce starch and alcohol, where about 20 000 tons goes into the alcohol production. The overall process is completed through Hoff, an agricultural cooperative owned by more than 500 potato farmers throughout Norway and producer of a wide range of potato food products. All the waste potatoes are transported to Hoff industries for further processing.
The starch is produced through a process of shredding and cleaning to retrieve the starch and then proceeds to a drying process to potato flour. Potato flour is utilized in a range of different food products such as minced meat or fish. Some of the flour is further processed to extract the glucose that is utilized both in candy production, as well as in pharmaceutical industries. The alcohol is processed through a similar initial process, freeing the starch from the waste potatoes, and then distilling it to rectified alcohol (96%). This alcohol is sold to various alcohol producers that use it as a base to produce aquavit, gin, or vodka. The waste material from processing starch or alcohol is utilized either as feed or as soil improvements.
Without this arrangement, there would probably be major environmental and market consequences. Between 45 000 and 50 000 tonnes of potato waste would have to be handled differently, thus giving rise to several challenges. For one, potato leftovers and waste is organic waste material and therefore have to be treated as a special waste. In addition, there would be an increased risk of spreading potato diseases. The arrangement is therefore socially responsible, economically profitable, and environmentally sound, for the farmers, industry, and society.