BakeryandSnack Chat Podcast: ReGrained calls on CPG leadership like PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay to treat ‘open source’ compostable packaging challenges

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

BakeryandSnack Chat Podcast: ReGrained calls on CPG leadership like PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay to treat ‘open source’ compostable packaging challenges

Related tags ReGrained compostable packaging Food waste Frito-lay

The CEO and co-founder of the mission-driven food startup that makes flour and snacks from the grains used to brew beer has issued a challenge to companies like PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay to share their resources to tackling the dire global plastic crisis.

ReGrained was recently named one of four recipients of the prestigious Expo West Editor’s Choice NEXTY Award for ‘displaying the utmost in innovation, integrity and inspiration,’ according to Dan Kurzrock, CEO and co-founder of ReGrained.

It also comes off the heels of the startup’s transparency over the issues it has faced with compostable packaging, which has inspired producers in similar situations to join a coalition called OSC2​ to pool ideas and solutions to fight our global plastic problem.

Compostable challenge

ReGrain's snack bars are made from the spent grains after brewing beer

“We wanted to take a stand and really prove to the industry that the compostable options out there are still the best most sustainable options for a flexible film product would work,”​ said Kurzrock.

However, while conventional packaging worked well at keeping a product fresh, a product in compostable packaging deteriorates more quickly, proving to be a challenge as the volume of the company’s snack bars has increased and distribution expanded.

“The product in compostable package seemed to be fine in the lab, but in the wild, it actually started to make our product go stale prematurely – so no food safety issues, but compromising the quality of our product.”

As such, for the first time ever, ReGrained has had to switch to using conventional films, which it knows works for the product.

As the saying goes, though, there is a silver lining under every dark cloud.

Non-competitive issue

“We’re trying to use our failure as an opportunity to rally more people in our community of food producers … to take a systemic approach to solving this issue, which doesn’t need to be as intractable as it seems to be today … there are solutions that we can create, but we can’t do them in a silo,” ​said Kurzrock.

“We want to open source this to the industry so that we can treat this as a non-competitive issue.”

Kurzrock has issued a challenge to much larger food companies to join the coalition.

“Consumers care too much for them not to be working [on these challenges] and companies like PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay are investing a lot of money and figuring out packaging solutions, but they are keeping it to themselves. This should be an issue that should be treated as non-proprietary.”

Listen to the full BakeryandSnack Chat Podcast with Kurzrock.

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