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Meat, eggs, avocado. Many foods impact the climate negatively, and if we are to combat global warming in the future, it will require innovation regarding what we eat and how we produce it.

It generates almost 40 million tons of residual product mash annually, when students at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) consume conventional beers throughout the year.

But a DTU-startup has set out to change that. Science Brew is a circular food consortium behind a patented technology that minimizes raw material consumption by reusing the by-products for new types of food. The goal is to change the global imprint of beer production.

Science Brew is a food consortium behind a patented technology used to minimize carbon footprint by reusing waste for new foods

“With our approach, we make ‘zero waste beer’ through a circular process, where we recycle the waste products associated with making beer. After brewing a batch of beer, most breweries are left with large amounts of the residual product mash, which contains protein, sugar and antioxidants. We run it through a patented filter press developed at DTU, which divides it into a liquid and a dry matter part, which we use to make various snacks – such as our Beer tapenade or our ‘Beerchos’,” says Anca Elena Onciu, who is a co-founder of Science Brew.

“For us, it’s both about the unique taste and about the story behind it. We work so experimentally that each beer can vary. I think that appeals to people who increasingly appreciate that the products are natural and sustainably produced,” Anca Elena Onciu says.

Coke, fries and an insect burger, please

In the future, we will have to get used to eating insects, according to the foodtech startup Hey Planet founded in 2016 by insect researcher Malena Sigurgeirsdottir and social entrepreneur Jessica Buhl-Nielsen.

The company produces climate-friendly snacks, protein bars, crispbread and meat alternatives – all made from beetles and insects.

Malena Sigurgeirsdottir og Jessica Buhl Nielsen founders of Hey Planet

“Insects are an absolutely fantastic food that we do not use enough. It is extremely nutritious, high in vitamin B12, iron, calcium, protein – generally many nutrients that we get from animal sources today. In addition, they are very sustainable to produce. They emit about 100 times less CO2 than meat from cattle and are on an equal footing nutritionally. The UN has named them among the world’s most sustainable foods,” Jessica Buhl-Nielsen says.

It takes 20 kilos of feed to produce one kilo of beef. With insects, the ratio is 1:1. A no-brainer in terms of the climate.

“The insect we use the most are buffalo beetles. We get them from farms in the Netherlands, where they are raised vertically in a kind of shelf system, so they take up as little area as possible. Here, they are fed with the residual product mask, so it is a very climate-friendly and circular production,” says the Hey Planet founder.

The fruit no one wanted

On a trip to Tanzania, Marianne Dujim from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) experienced a huge waste in the cashew nut value chain. Farmers would not use it. So, she set out to make sustainable caramels out of the cashew fruit that usually stands in the shadow of the nut.

The nut that grows on the outside of the fruit makes up only five percent of the total crop and every year about 16 million tons of cashews are wasted on the African continent alone, where on average 40 percent of fruit and vegetable crops on or around farms never reach the consumer.

“In many places in Africa, farmers just dispose of the fruit, throw it on the ground and let it rot. Therefore, I started thinking about how to use all that fruit in a better way. Because it simply could not be right that this just went to waste,” says Marianne Duijm, founder of Casju.

The cashew apple has an astringent, slightly sour and sweet taste. And after several experiments in the kitchen, Marianne decided to make caramels out of a paste from the fruit. A successful crowdfunding campaign later, Casju was established.

“Most people are surprised when they see the fruit – and especially the size ratio between the fruit and the nut. So for me, it’s about creating an understanding of the food, which does not just land by itself, ready to eat on a plate. To tell the story of all the stages that precede the final product that we put in our mouths,” says the Casju founder.

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