Are you upset that “Healthy” means expensive? Are you frustrated with food processing that leaves only a fraction of the initial ingredients and nutrients? Are you upset by big packages, which are profitable for the manufacturer, but force you to finish the product or waste it? If not, you may stop reading here…

How to cut prices for plant-based proteins 10x

Imagine my fascination, when I learned that Sunflower oilcake fed as concentrates to cattle has more protein by weight than beef has. We give 35% protein feed to cows to get 26% protein from beef. We use up to 7kg of oilcake to get 1kg of beef. Isn’t that ridiculous?

Historically, oilcake has been used only in animal feed because of its hard, wood chip-like texture. We puffed the fiber in oilcake, making it palatable and protein-available for human consumption.

We got an ingredient with 3x more protein than grain flours like wheat and rice, and 10x lower cost, compared to other plant-based proteins. This manufacturing process was tested and optimized at the University of Minnesota. The resulting product was certified for nutritional content by Medallion Labs.

We can make it, but will they eat it?

To answer this question, we made high-protein chips from sunflower oilcake, and launched on Amazon this Spring.

Traction within first three months since our launch highlights the opportunity to expand the product line to other categories, where plant-based proteins drive growth: prepared foods, salty snacks, cookies and crackers, diet and nutrition, cereal and granola, desserts, yogurt.

We see tremendous potential to add our plant-based protein, high-fiber ingredient into popular formulations, and make them healthier at the same price.

So what’s the plan?

Extrusion technology that we use to sterilize and puff the oilcake in one step contributes to the low cost of our main ingredient ($0.18/lb), and turns the fiber into beneficial fiber for our bodies. But unlike protein isolates, fibrous Sunflower oilcake requires some extra work during product formulation.

We defined killer applications and visualized them on our Product Roadmap.

We plan to develop prototypes, crowdfund initial orders to test demand, and strike partnerships with manufacturers in different categories to bring products on the market.

To make multiple prototypes fast and well, PLANETARIANS partnered with Mattson, the most successful independent food and drink product development company in North America.

How big is the market?

My second “a-ha” moment happened when we pulled data from the USDA to learn how much oilcake is produced annually. The world’s supply of oilcake – what remains after oils are extracted from a variety of crops like sunflower seeds, cotton seeds, canola, etc - was 334.82 million metric tons in 2017! That’s enough to feed 1.5 billion people without growing any extra crops!

If you work in one of these areas – join us!

Suppliers - this area hasn't been touched for years. Any result you can provide is a great result!

Food scientists - oilcake protein is so cheap that you can make better products at the same price!

Distributors and retailers - replace unhealthy products!

Do you work in media or marketing? This is your chance to describe a product that perfectly combines reduced impact on the planet with healthy ingredients.

Do you have kids? Prevent obesity and diet-related diseases with the products kids love, while simultaneously teaching kids about sustainability.

Do you have cash? Pre-order or invest depending on your capacity, on the SeedInvest crowd-investing platform.

About author: Aleh Manchuliantsau is a food developer at PLANETARIANS. He previously created and sold over 1 million bottles of nutritionally complete meals. Right now, Aleh is working on up-cycling food waste into tasty and healthy snacks. His goal? To feed a growing population without the need to grow more crops.

Aleh Manchuliantsau