Upcycled ingredients - the land of opportunities, what if we organize a contest?

PLANETARIANS plans to launch a contest for the best recipe from upcycled ingredients: every chef can get a free sample of upcycled ingredients, make a new product, and start a new business with the help of our partners!

Two years ago when PLANETARIANS pivoted into ingredients tech - we thought that if we pass benefits we oversaw for our CPG brand to others - we will not only scale technology faster but make a larger impact. But we did not expect that so many customers want to play and even invest in us!

In 2017, PLANETARIANS completed feasibility tests at the University of Minnesota and received an equity investment from TechStars Accelerator. Next year company released chips made from upcycled ingredients, that resulted in 69% month-to-month growth on Amazon. Protein at the price of the flour introduced at IFT’18 and SupplySide West’18 resulted in sample request from 46 companies and several trials. National Sunflower Association featured PLANETARIANS’ revolutionary technology in December 2018 issue of “The Sunflower” magazine. March 5, 2019 PLANETARIANS closed $750,000 Seed round with participation from Barilla Group's BLU1877, TechStars, SOSV, The Yield Lab and group of angels.

Excited by such effect we thought, what if we can pass these new opportunities to all food technologists, culinary scientists, and entrepreneurs?! What if we launch a contest for the best recipe from upcycled ingredients? Who else can join our mission to fight climate change?

In this post, we outlined our thoughts and potential benefits of the contest for different groups.

Use case #1: For chefs

Animal agriculture produces 66.11 GT of carbon dioxide emissions annually according to Drawdown research. Due to changes in consumer preferences for healthier meals, this creates an opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by offering more plant-based meals as an alternative for animal based. McDonald's can reach its ambitious goal to prevent 150 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 replacing just 16,7% of meat-based meals with plant-based.

Would you like to help fast food companies to make products that match the modern pace, but provide better nutrition? Would you like to collaborate with entrepreneurs willing to launch new products? Would you like to test your recipes at R&D plants of large corporations?- You may want to join, like Andy Clark, owner of Moxie Bread Co. in Louisville, Colo., serves pizza made with sunflower seed flour crust:

“About a third of the wheat flour is replaced with sunflower seed flour, which produces a delicate dough," he said. "Added fiber assists with binding water to accommodate for the lack of gluten. The sunflower seed flour contributes fiber and plant protein, boosting the nutritional profile of a vegan or vegetarian pizza. That stunning color reinforces the mindful food choice.”

Use case #2: For brands

High protein high fiber PLANETARIANS ingredients help food brands to convert bakery applications into a good source of protein. “With the help of BLU1877 we validated at Barilla’s R&D Pilot plant high protein pasta, bread, crackers” - adds Anastasia Tkacheva, PLANETARIANS’ Co-founder & CTO. “With Amadori we made flexitarian meatballs and ragu.”
What can upcycled ingredients do for your company?- Some bits of advice from James Cali, S Cap general partner, a venture fund focused on FoodTech companies:

New Products and line extensions -- launching high protein/fiber NPD with strong claims at affordable prices

Core Brand makeover -- transform less healthy core products into "good source" healthier, clean label products

Cost Savings - replace expensive ingredients like chickpea with inherent nutrition from the flour

Create new category potential -unlock the emerging market of affordable nutrition - previously high protein, high fiber products were unaffordable for the mass market.

Use case #3: Impact investors

Repurposing defatted seeds from animal to human consumption creates an opportunity for new meals creation at a fraction of the cost. The FDA recommended 2000 cal daily intake now can be sustainably manufactured under $1.

Supporting live events, where celebrity chefs can cook products from upcycled ingredients and inspire millions of home chefs - invaluable. Setting special prizes for different locations (Africa, Asia, Alabama...) can trigger changes in locations with food insecurity. Supporting the down-payments for equipment needed for upcycling local by-products can boost local entrepreneurship...

“When you upcycle what’s already grown - you don’t need to grow more crops, occupy more land, consume more water. Repurposing by-products you can help to fight the climate change. Making protein affordable you fight food insecurity for current and future generations” - says Michela Petronio, from Barilla’s venture arm BLU1877.  

Use case #4: Sustainability-focused Institutions

Every manufacturer, even in a small village has by-products. Usually, a small amount is not enough to justify the upcycling equipment. Supporting upcycled mills allows putting back what’s wasted or fed to animals these days, fight the climate change and fight food insecurity.

Educating more entrepreneurs on the solutions in the circular/zero waste economy can organize collaboration between local stakeholders and build the basement for industry transforming. Isn't that about your role?

Use case #5: Technology accelerators and investors

You know how much time the scouting takes. You know that to select 10 companies per cohort you need to screen 300-400 others. You know, most startups apply to several accelerators simultaneously.

Want a shortcut?- Support the platforms and the best companies on top of the will come to you organically. Engage startups to collaborate and that would be the best mentorship. Help them to support each other and reduce your risks.

Use case #6: Academia

The food industry has deconstructed food into its basic building blocks and reassembled it using cheaper ingredients. But when the food industry discards ingredients that do not directly contribute to calories, they often throw away valuable fiber, which contributes to gut health.

Can we study the effects of upcycled by-products on the microbiome? Can we focus students in their research? Can we demonstrate benefits for brands and start a collaboration to change the industry? Can our efforts put back what’s food industry wasted?

Use case #7: Equipment manufacturers

PLANETARIANS uses extruders for upcycling by-products. Extruders are widely used in the food industry for multiple cooking applications.

Can we configure extruder in a such a way to perform a plurality of pre-processing and post-processing operations? For example, can we upcycle and make pasta in one operation? Can we combine extruder and an ultra-high pasteurization device to make the hummus-like dip, spread, and puree? Can we minimize the extruder to use in any kitchen? Build in a kitchen sink?

Equipment manufacturers from Clextral and Wenger are ready to give you such a chance. Moreover, John Barber of Clexral is ready to support PLANETARIANS’ contest by offering one free seat at Twin Screw Extrusion Workshop (runs at multiple locations).

Use case #8: By-product and food waste owners

“PLANETARIANS’ technology creates value for food processors who produce byproducts and for food companies who can use our ingredients to develop nutritious and sustainable products for consumers,” said Aleh Manchuliantsau, PLANETARIANS’ Founder & CEO.

“Our technology allows food processors to sell byproducts that can now be transformed into a high protein, high fiber flour at a premium price, a powerful incentive to repurpose byproducts that would have otherwise been wasted or used as feed. And when we say “premium” - we mean protein at the price of flour.”

Collaboration through the contest is a perfect opportunity to make many by-product streams visible and engage tech startups to collaborate.

Use case #9: Media

Many people know that almost 40% of our food is wasted, but nobody seems to mention that before animal products even reach consumers' plates, animal agriculture has already lost 90% of the calories used as inputs to produce them... How does this happen?

From the initial 100% of the calories in the defatted seeds, humans get only 17% of that number of calories if we feed defatted seeds to poultry and then consume poultry. We get 9% of that total if we feed defatted seeds to pigs and then consume pork, and 3% (3!) of that total when we feed defatted seeds to cows, and then consume the beef.

In the meantime, defatted seeds themselves can be used for human consumption, which would make available 100% of those initial calories.  If we repurposed all of the defatted seeds wasted or fed to livestock, and made them available for human consumption, we could feed 1.5 billion people for an entire year, without growing any more crops than we already do.

Isn't it a big area to explore, educate industry leaders, and share best practices?!

Use case #10: Event organizers

Food is a sensory experience. One bite is worth than a thousand words. Want to engage more people?- Let them try delicious products made from upcycled ingredients.

If you’re an event organizer - invite chefs instead of speakers, help them showcase applications, and educate visitors that they can fight climate change, fight food insecurity and make their bodies healthier putting back what was recently wasted. We’ll support you with samples.

If the contest comes true - what would be the rules?

We think rules could be as simple as 1, 2, 3:

  1. Apply to get a FREE sample of upcycled ingredients

  2. Make your recipe, post video to any social network and submit the link

  3. Collect as many likes as you can and get noticed by jury

What would be the prize?

We believe that the ability to make the change is the biggest prize, so asked our partners to offer such prizes that can move your efforts forward. Ideally - trials at R&D Pilot plant.

But if we are able to unite folks around upcycled ingredients and fight climate change - everyone will benefit…

———————— About PLANETARIANS ———————

PLANETARIANS is an ingredient tech company, upcycling byproducts, and solid food waste into high-protein, high-fiber ingredients that allow brands to create products that appeal to customers who want “better for you, better for the environment” foods. PLANETARIANS technology sterilizes, destroys anti-nutrients and functionalizes fiber in one step. The company’s functional protein flour made from upcycled defatted sunflower seeds has 3x the protein and 2x the fiber at the same cost of wheat flour.

Aleh Manchuliantsau