A start-up from Valais is transforming food waste into nutritious ingredients. Its first product is a concentrate extracted from brewer's spent grain to be used in bread.
The question of where protein will come from in future drives countless start-ups all over the globe. The Swiss start-up ProSeed is betting on barley malt, a protein-rich substance obtained during the beer brewing process. According to the Schweizer Brauerei-Verband (Swiss Brewers' Association), over 80,000 tonnes of barley malt are wasted each year in Switzerland, even though this protein-rich cereal is perfectly edible. Some of it ends up as animal feed in agriculture, but often it is just treated as waste. The same issue is found with other types of food production, such as the manufacturing of fruit juices or plant-based milks.
Replacing conventional proteins
Following several years of development work, the young researchers from ProSeed have produced a concentrate that can partly replace conventional proteins in flour for baked products, which allows the waste from beer brewing to be upcycled. ProSeed aims to improve waste management in the food industry by offering new ingredients created from by-products.
Our preparation has many advantages over what is currently on the market in terms of sustainability, but also in terms of dietary diversification for vegetarians or vegans.
A baguette made with waste from beer brewing
As part of a pilot, a well-known bakery in Valais is currently selling a hazelnut baguette, which is enriched with plant-based protein extracted from barley malt. The start-up hopes that this successful collaboration will encourage other European food companies to realise the potential of these neglected by-products and also to use ProSeed’s upgraded raw materials for their products.
The idea first took shape when Proseed's founders regularly observed the transport of sacks of barley malt in a small brewery in Valais. After a conversation with the brewer, the idea for a more sustainable solution was born.
Technology with manifold options
In the next few years, ProSeed hopes to market new ingredients based on various by-products, such as barley malt and apple pomace, which can be used in the manufacture of meat substitutes, sports drinks and plant-based milks. The start-up, which has won several prestigious awards, is currently seeking to raise funds to develop its business and to build a pilot production line capable of processing up to two tonnes of barley malt per day by autumn 2023.