IFT First Preview

IFT Startup Pavilion promotes climate-smart options ranging from alternative proteins to upcycled ingredients to sustainable grains

By Elizabeth Crawford contact

- Last updated on GMT

Source: Getty/	10'000 Hours
Source: Getty/ 10'000 Hours

Related tags: IFT show, plant-based, Protein, Climate Smart Food

The next generation of brands, ingredient suppliers and processors are placing sustainability at the center of how they do business and making it easier for their partners to do the same as illustrated by the companies showcasing in the Startup Pavilion at IFT First Annual Event and Expo in Chicago this month.

Among the more than 40 companies grouped in the Startup Pavilion – located alongside more than 700 other exhibitors and near the business stage – are businesses championing climate smart ingredients ranging from upcycled solutions to more sustainable grains and climate-resistant plants.

Others will display proteins that leverage food-tech or plants to deliver nutrient-dense alternatives to conventional animal-based options.

Alongside these companies are others bringing novel food safety and processing solutions that will also help reduce waste and pollution while also more efficiently using limited resources.

Climate-smart and -resilient plants offer alternatives to resource-intensive crops  

Ingredients that offer more but require less are gaining traction with food and beverage companies that are trying to reduce their carbon footprint and meet consumer demand for more sustainable products.

At IFT’s Startup Pavilion, Sustain-A-Grain, Terviva, Banzo Brands and ChickP are all using more sustainable alternatives to common, and potentially more resource-intense, ingredients.

For example, Sustain-A-Grain (booth #S4287-E) is leading grower and supplier of Kernza – a perennial intermediate wheatgrass developed at The Land Institute and grown in the Midwest that efficiently sequester carbon  and uptake hard to access nutrients and water with its long roots that extend 10 feet or more into the ground. The plant also is more prolific than annual wheat.

Food and ag company Terviva (S4286-E) also is fostering development of another carbon sequestering powerhouse – the pongamia tree, which helps improve soil health and water quality in land that is too harsh for other crops – while also producing an abundant, protein- and oil-rich legumes.

Banzo Brands (S4285k) and ChikP Protein (S4286M) both are leveraging chickpeas in unexpected ways to offer allergen-friendly, plant-based, high-protein ingredients.

Upcycling turns would-be trash into treasure

Other companies are turning would be waste or byproducts into novel and nutritious ingredients, including Evergrain, Appao, Nutraberry, Regrained and others.

Evergrain Ingredients (S4286) and Regrained (S4271-B) both use spent grain from the brewing process to create protein- and fiber-rich ingredients that can be used in a wide range of finished products – from snacks to pastas to breads and even milks.

Apparo (S4285-o) is upcycling sunflower seed meal with its Total Crop Utilization technology platform to create two proteins and a nutraceutical that can be used in plant-based meats, high protein baked goods, cereals, snacks and in ready-to-mix beverages.

Nutraberry (S4285-G) is taking another frequently discarded but nutrient dense plant part to create functional ingredients for the food and personal care segments. Specifically, it upcycles PNW berry seeds from the production of seedless purees into powders and cold-pressed oils.

Protein 2.0

Continuing the sustainability trend, several startups will showcase alternative proteins and plant-based meat.

Sourcing ingredients from deep underground and under water, Back of Yard Algae Sciences (S4286-N) develops food colors and flavors, protein powders and biostimulants to boost vertical farming and cell-based growth media from algae and mycelia.

Blue Canopy (S4287-G) also offers mycelium based and brewed meat proteins to support plant-based meat and pet-food production, as does Opera Bioscience (S4285-Q), which supplies proteins for cell-culture, cultivate meats and biomaterials.

Cella Farms (S4285-B) also leverages microbial protein technology but focuses on fermenting grains to create high protein flours that deliver all nine essential amino acids to boost the nutritional profile of plant-based food.

The Startup Pavilion also is home to several companies that support new companies, offer innovative packaging and food safety solutions and a handful of consumer goods ranging from Rollicking Buckaroo Pepper Jam (S4286-I) to Cane’d (S4286-K) cold pressed sugar cane juice.

Related topics: Ingredients, Sustainability

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