EverGrain assembles some of the world’s brightest minds to delve deeper into upcycled barley
Five scientists from leading universities in food, nutrition and health, agriculture and environmental sciences will collaborate with EverGrain to unleash the full potential of BSG, the nutrient-rich byproduct of the beer brewing process.
The brewing industry generates around nine million metric tons of dry spent barley grain each year, typically relegated to animal feed or landfill. The grain is deemed ‘spent’ because it cannot be used to make more beer, as most of its starches have been extracted by the brewery to provide fermentable sugars to the yeast.
However, what remains is considered a functional food and packed with benefits – including fibre, protein and phenolic compounds – as well as one of the most accessible, sustainable plant-based ingredients in the world.
EverGrain was created by AB InBev in 2021 to take its BSG one step further – to examine every molecule of barley and build an ingredient portfolio that improves the nutrition and environmental integrity of plant-based foods. In April, the company announced a $100m renovation of its new US headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri.
Leading the EverGrain Scientific Advisory Board (ESAB) is the company’s global head of R&D Steffen Münch, and Dr Harold Schmitz, PhD, senior scholar in the Graduate School of Management at the University of California. The ESAB will collaborate closely with EverGrain’s inhouse team of scientists, sustainability experts, nutritionists and product developers to find new uses for BSG and support its product innovation pipeline.
“We at EverGrain consider upcycled BSG as one of the most sustainable protein sources on Earth because it delivers high quality nutrition with a very low carbon impact,” said Münch.
“Until now, BSG has gone to animal feed or simply been thrown away, so we are excited and privileged to team up with such talented scientists to increase the health and sustainability impact of this untapped super grain.”
The new ESAB
Elke Arendt, PhD – professor at the School of Food and Nutritional Sciences at University College Cork in Ireland – specialises in cereals, malting and brewing science with a focus on gluten-free foods, starter cultures, functional beverages, rheology and food structure.
Christophe Courtin, PhD – professor of food biochemistry at the Laboratory of Food Chemistry and Biochemistry at KU Leuven in Belgium – specialises in the molecular biology of cereal starch, non-starch carbohydrates and dietary fibre, with a focus on the functionality of dietary fibres in human health and applications in other areas of technology.
Diederik Esser, PhD – senior researcher at Wageningen University & Research in The Netherlands – specialises in the study of nutrition quality and biofunctional activity of emerging, sustainable protein sources, especially as they relate to the performance of endurance athletes and metabolic systems.
Thomas Hofmann, PhD – president of the Technical University of Munich and professor in the newly established Chair of Food Chemistry and Molecular Sensors – specialises in screening, identifying and quantifying chemical compounds that are naturally occurring or formed during processing and can influence the sensory, appearance and metabolic health impact of foods.
Justin Siegel, PhD – associate professor of chemistry, biochemistry and molecular medicine at University of California and faculty director of the Innovation Institute for Food and Health – specialises in understanding proteins and designing enzymes for diverse applications spanning many sectors, including the food and beverage industry.
“Being an ingredient company within one of the world’s largest brewing companies gives us the capability to scale production of upcycled barley grain – what we at EverGrain affectionately call ‘saved’ grain – around the globe,” said Gregory Belt, EverGrain CEO.
“Adding some of the world’s best and brightest scientific minds to the process will accelerate our goal of helping to nourish a growing population while overcoming the resource challenges caused by climate change.”