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Barley and rice protein isolate ready for primetime in food formulations

By Mary Ellen Shoup

- Last updated on GMT

Zea10 Beretein formulations include chocolate plant protein powder, hot beverages, and bakery items.  ©GettyImages/wmaster890
Zea10 Beretein formulations include chocolate plant protein powder, hot beverages, and bakery items. ©GettyImages/wmaster890

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After nearly four years of development, Zea10 is targeting food developers with its barley and rice plant protein isolate positioning itself as yet another alternative in the booming plant protein space at the IFT show next week.

Beretein is a plant protein concentrate made from spent brewery grains discarded during the beer brewing process and processed by Zea10​ using a water-based Aqua-Processing technology at its semi-production facility in Carlstadt, New Jersey. 

Samples will be available in the Startup Alley at the IFT show in McCormick Place, Chicago, next week.

Brewer gathers wet spent grains. ©GettyImages/Lumase

“Big breweries produce huge quantities of spent grain, a lot of which goes to animal feed, but some of it doesn’t get used at all and it doesn’t keep for very long,”​ said Robert Beausire, president of KaiNutra, the market development business working with Zea10.

The small startup team at Zea10 saw this as a “waste of nutrition”​ and decided to do something about it, Beausire continued.

“We see this growing the same way that whey did years ago,”​ Beausire told FoodNavigator-USA, explaining that years ago, whey was once thought of us as low-value product leftover from dairy production and incorporated into animal feed.

The barley/rice protein isolate will be on show at the upcoming IFT Food Expo in Chicago later this month where the company will have commercial quantities for sale.

“We want to be included in formulations,” ​Beausire said. “We’re hoping to reach the larger food audience with some of the larger players. It’s kind of a 'coming-out of party' to say, ‘We’re here and we’re serious'.”

According to the Whole Grains Council, there isn't one grain that reigns supreme in terms of nutrition as each have their own unique benefits. Here’s how the most popular grains stack up by nutrient content:


Market for Beretein

Zea10 is entering an already captive market interested in alternative plant proteins (ResearchandMarkets projects a global value of $10.8bn by 2022 for plant proteins) but with a few distinct advantages, according to Beausire.

Beretein is very soluble and virtually tasteless requiring less masking work, making it ideal for beverage applications, Beausire said.

“Some of the main hot beverages around the world, particularly chocolate-based ones, have got a lot of malted barley in them. We just think it’s a natural fit to add protein to a lot of different beverages,”​ he said.

Along with its very minimal taste profile and high solubility, Beretein is able to pack in the protein having developed a prototype drink for a previous food trade show that contained 20 grams of protein per 12 ounces.

“We see very large potential in sports nutrition and active nutrition,”​ he said. “It’s also a nice protein for the larger food players to use as well in granola bars and things like that.”

Further down the line after generating market interest, Zea10 will have its own dedicated facility where it aims to produce around 1 ton of Beretein barley/rice protein per month, according to Beausire.

Visit Zea10 at the Startup Alley at the IFT show in McCormick Place, Chicago, next week.

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