Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery was recently able to talk to Dan Kurzrock, ReGrained, about its new collaboration with Puratos.
Liz Parker: How did this collaboration originate?
Dan Kurzrock: Our story began with a loaf of bread when two underage home brewers didn’t like tossing the leftover grain (technically, brewer’s spent grain) into the trash. So, the bakery category has been a primary focus for ReGrained from day one. We knew Puratos as a dominant behind-the-scenes innovator in this business and a company with which we wanted to work. We really respected their approach and values because they align with our own. Mutual colleagues in our community ultimately introduced us to the right folks on the leadership team, including baking luminaries like Peter Reinhart.
Together, we began ideating and experimenting with our respective ingredients. R&D results soon confirmed that our technologies can be combined to produce great products with enormous potential. From there, we mutually decided to pursue a deeper relationship to bring our offerings to the industry together.
LP: Why are upcycled ingredients important?
DK: When you consider that nearly 40 percent of the world’s food is lost or wasted (along with the resources it took grow or raise that food, couple with the fact that 800 million people go hungry every day, our food system is seriously broken, and we need to find solutions to fix it.
Upcycling has immense opportunity to help food realize its full potential, reduce food waste, and maximize environmental resources. Because upcycled food is a new food waste solution, the assessment instruments and metrics are still developing. However, ReFED’s, leading food loss and waste insights engine, has valued upcycling as a $2.69 billion market. The non-profit cites upcycling as the top solution for manufacturers in both economic and environmental impact.1 Future Market Insights estimates the market is $46.7 billion with an expected CAGR of 5 percent.2
In our line of business, scale translates directly to impact. The more food processing byproducts we upcycle, the more waste we reduce upstream, and the more nutritious food we can bring to consumers downstream. The United States generates over 20 billion pounds of brewer’s spent grain (BSG) each year that typically goes to animal feed, composting or landfill. In 2020 alone, ReGrained upcycled approximately 500,000 pounds of BSG at our pilot ReGrainery, which barely scratches the surface of even our local supply.
Qualitatively, upcycling has a direct impact on the financial bottom line. Wasted food equals wasted money. So, unlike other equally pressing solutions to climate change, the incentives are fortunately in the right places across the board for a more circular economy for upcycled food to take off in a major way.
1 ReFED Insights Engine: “Manufacturing Byproduct Utilization (Upcycling” https://insights-engine.refed.com/solution-database/manufacturing-byproduct-utilization-upcycling)
2 Future Market Insights: “Products from Food Waste Market - Key Research Findings” https://www.futuremarketinsights.com/reports/products-from-food-waste-market
LP: How will innovation play a role in the collaboration?
DK: Puratos [has] unparallel resources and expertise in natural fermentation, health & well-being, enzyme-based technologies, and consumer insights, and have made substantial investments in research and development. The result: their capabilities to drive innovation is unmatched.
ReGrained is [an] upcycled food ingredient and innovation platform with the Upcycled Food Lab at its core. Made from brewer’s spent grain (BSG), our flagship product, SuperGrain+, is a revolutionary ingredient created by upcycling the flavor and nutrition concentrated in the brewing process. Only the BSG’s sugars are “spent” during the brewing. We close the loop on the remaining fiber, protein, and other nutrients at scale to create a more circular food economy. We actually developed our patent technology in cooperation with the USDA, so collaborative innovation is at our core.
Together with Puratos, we’re able to create new and exciting products as well as reformulate familiar favorites to improve the health of people and planet alike.
LP: Which categories of baking are top candidates for this initiative?
DK: Honestly, we don’t have priority categories because there is so much innovation happening across the baking industry. Instead, we look at opportunities that align with consumer trends in the category, such as improved health and nutrition, convenience and more responsibly made bakery and snack products.
We continue to be blown away by the application versatility of our SuperGrain+ ingredient, and continue to explore, ideate, and learn. SuperGrain+ brings [a] unique and pleasant flavor. From savory to sweet applications, there are many possibilities to innovate across the snack and bakery categories.