For almost 20 years Wilbur-Ellis has been working with tomato canneries around the world to utilize their tomato fiber and seed leftovers into a highly nutritious ingredient for animal food.
In California, primarily in the summer and fall, tomato canneries process raw tomatoes into tomato paste and other products. In this process, much of the seed, skin, and fiber portions of the tomato are not utilized. This wet, fibrous product was once looked at as a waste. But thanks to an innovative approach by Wilbur-Ellis, those tomato products are now being transformed into a value-added, premium ingredient in pet food.
Because the tomato pomace starts as a wet by-product, it is moved to staging or drying yards – sometimes up to 100 miles away from the source. The product is then either mechanically dried or dried by the sun.
The dried product is then collected into piles and moved into storage. It can then be further processed using grinding or extruding machines, and packaged into bags, totes or bulk trucks to move to the end customer – many of whom are thousands of miles away. Many steps of the process can be customized to the customers’ specifications.
Because of innovations like this one, Wilbur-Ellis is contributing to sustainability, while providing nutritious ingredients for the animals we love.