With the slogan “Eat beer. Fight food waste”, the American start-up Regrained is selling beer granola bars made from “used” grain. In an innovative attempt to do more with less, Regrained is tackling food waste and changing the way we look at leftovers.
The San Francisco-based company Regrained, officially launched in 2012, has found a new way to repurpose and repackage leftovers. In particular, “spent” grain from beer brewing is turned into snack bars. The idea is simple: as Regrained slogan goes, “you can have your beer and eat it too”.
HOW DID IT ALL START?
First steps at a UCLA frat-house
Unexpectedly, it all started at a UCLA frat-house, where Jordan Schwartz and Dan Kurzrock, Regrained co-founders, began homebrewing beer as underage students. Back then, despite their interest in sustainability and a keen eye for recycling, they had no idea where this would have led them, yet. With this new, fun business, they soon started to notice that, with every batch of beer made, a huge amount of “used” grain was produced too and, with the frat-house lacking composting bins for dismissing the grain, let alone animal farms to feed, they started to look for alternative ways of recycling.
Jordan and Dan say: “We were only making 5 gallons of beer at a time, less than one the volume of a standard keg, but each brew day produced approximately a cafeteria-sized batch of oatmeal. We understood that the sugar from the grain was somehow being turned into fresh barley pop, but what about the grain? What the heck were we supposed to do with that stuff? And there was a lot of it! An idea struck. Sure, we didn’t have farm animals, but we had plenty of the next best thing: hungry party animals.”
The bread business
With the soaked malts still edible (and high in protein and fibres), they first started to bake bread and sell it on campus. Then, with the money earned, they were able to take the idea forward and finance their enterprise, swapping bread with granola bars.
Granola bars, and much more
“We put our heads (and appetites) together. Jordan’s crowded apartment kitchen became our startup’s “garage,” and we developed an evolving recipe of small batch granola bars.”
ReGrained has since become a full-time pursuit: bars are now sold in San Francisco grocery store for $2.50 and, after having partnered up with three urban craft breweries in the area, the company is set to expand its business.
TECH TO STOP FOOD WASTE
At a time when food waste is one of the main afflictions of the food industry, Regrained idea seems all the more impactful and interesting.
About a third of all food produced globally for human consumption is lost or wasted – around 1.3 billion tonnes per year. It’s estimated that 40 percent of the food in the United States won’t end up in people’s stomachs, costing Americans $165 billion a year. In Europe only, the 88 million tonnes of food waste produced annually is costing over 143 billion euros.
“Our vision is to enable urban ecosystems to do more with less through creativity and innovation”, say Jordan and Dan. “With every decision, we seek to positively impact the community and planet in which we live and run our business”, say founders Jordan and Dan, whose plan is to work until “all the spent grain in the world is upcycled”.
Brew Good. Bake Good. Do Good.