FȲTA taps upcycled barley protein for sports nutrition products

By Asia Sherman

- Last updated on GMT

© Image courtesy of FȲTA
© Image courtesy of FȲTA

Related tags spent grain Ab inbev plant-based protein Sports nutrition

EverGrain, Anheuser Busch InBev’s sustainable ingredient business, and The Ultimate Fighter champion James Wilks have partnered to launch FȲTA, a line of high-performance sports nutrition powders made from upcycled barley protein.

“The sports nutrition category is huge – upwards of $14 billion and growing – yet there is a major void in plant-based proteins that can effectively meet an elite athlete’s needs to build muscle and fuel recovery,” said Wilks, an English film producer, vegan activist, combatives instructor and former professional mixed martial artist. 

The nutrition line is the first to commercialize Everpro, a barley protein made from Anheuser-Busch’s upcycled brewer’s spent grain and EverGrain’s first product to market.

Game-changing plant protein

Wilks explained that he was inspired to develop FȲTA after his film, The Game Changers​, prompted demand for plant proteins by athletes around the world. 

In the 2018 documentary produced by James Cameron, Wilks interviews scientists and high-performing athletes to suggest that the human body is adapted to eating plants and that plant-based diets lead to increased muscle efficiency, improved blood flow and quicker recovery times, but it was not until Wilks found EverPro that he was able to carry out his vision.

“We had very high standards for FȲTA to deliver clean, superior nutrition and an exceptional user experience,” he said. “EverPro is the only ingredient in the world we could find that enabled us to create a product that met all the criteria.” 

FȲTA delivers 30 g of protein, 3 g of fiber, nine essential amino acids for muscle build, growth and recovery, 1 g of added sugar and zero artificial ingredients, flavors or preservatives.

“EverPro’s science-based levels of bioavailability, digestibility and speed of absorption make it an optimal fit for sports and nutrition beverages,” the company said in a statement, adding that it has succeeded in “removing the thickness, grittiness and vegetable notes found in other products”.

Upcycled barley in trial and on the radar

EverGrain has spent nearly a decade developing proprietary technologies and production processes to transform the brewing byproduct – usually destined for landfills or animal feed – into a bioavailable and digestible protein. Following in vivo​ and in vitro​ trials to substantiate EverPro’s benefits and bioavailability, the company announced in March that it would employ Pipa Corp's artificial intelligence platform to identify potential polyphenol combinations for further sports performance benefits.

Greg Belt, CEO at EverGrain, said that upcycled barley has been slowly gaining attention within the industry and hopes that the introduction of FȲTA will signal to the marketplace that there is a sustainable, abundant source of protein that can help companies meet ESG goals, consumer demand and supply chain challenges.  

“As an ingredient business within the world’s leading brewing company, we have the unique capability to scale production of upcycled barley protein,” he said. “In fact, we estimate we can upcycle and commercialize upwards of 6,000 metric tons a year. Considering EverPro is highly compatible with other proteins, it can accelerate the innovation needed in the sports nutrition category and beyond.” 

FȲTA launches online later this month with its first product, a ready-to-mix powder in 630g packs in chocolate, vanilla and café latte flavors.

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