Meet Ruairi, Naimh and their brand BiaSol: they’re an Irish food start-up making waves in the industry with their innovative approach towards minimising food waste. Founded in the peak of lockdown in 2020, the sister-brother duo speculated on creating something sustainable and nutritious. They identified that repurposing brewing grains from the beer making process was a feasible way to combat food waste and introduce nutritious products to our diet.
A new way to use ‘spent grains’
Otherwise known as the leftover grains from brewing, spent grains are the most abundant by-product created in the brewing process, forming 85% of all by-products generated in this process. Globally, 39 million tonnes of spent grain are produced, where in Ireland alone, a whopping 2,700 tonnes of spent grain was created in 2019. To give you an indication of this scale – for every pint of beer you drink, the same volume of spent grain is created…
So what happens to the spent grain?
Well, Spent grain only has a 48-hour shelf life, and can go sour as quickly as one hour after brewing is finished! So, breweries have to have a quick turnaround to prevent waste.
The majority of global brewers have partnerships with farmers and energy companies that repurpose the spent grain as cheap animal feed or biomass for generators before the grain spoils. But, many micro-breweries don’t have this capacity. Micro-breweries tend to rely on local farmers to keep their spent grain from being wasted and when challenges arise here, they’re left with no choice but to send this by-product to landfill.
You might be asking why not compost? Spent grain has a very high moisture content and releases a lot of nitrogen when breaking down. So though it is possible to compost, it must be constantly monitored and significantly aerated to avoid a smelly, wet mess. Composting spent grain takes a lot of effort and resources! Unfortunately, that means many breweries brush composting aside and rely on the aforementioned partnerships and when that fails, relegate them to landfill.
With our craft beer industry booming, the number of micro-breweries has exploded in the market. So, tonnes of spent grain are produced and wasted. That’s a lot of organic matter ending up in landfill, breaking down to release significant levels of methane – the most damaging greenhouse gas.
So what’s BiaSol’s solution?
Biasol is conveniently located in the centre of Ireland, at Tullamore. Here they can cover a 100km radius (80% of Ireland’s land mass!), allowing them to collect from these breweries within the hour. Not only does this reduce their food miles, but this quick turnaround ensures the spent grain doesn’t lose its freshness and nutrition. In 2020, BiaSol upcycled 20 tonnes of spent grain – that’s a lot of grain rescued!
A nutritious potential
Spent grains are the nutrient-rich underdog of the food world, with a staggeringly high fibre content. BiaSol grains are made up of 40% fibre and 20% protein. This high fibre level is crucial for a healthy gut, especially as most adults fail to eat enough fibre.
And that’s not all. Spent grains are loaded with minerals, B vitamins and prebiotics, all of which are necessary and contribute to keeping us healthy. Spent grains should be considered a superfood, from boosting our metabolism, helping our immune system operate and reducing the risk of various diseases (like type 2 diabetes).
So what can you actually do with it?
BiaSol can be used in all your baking, all you have to do is substitute it for some of the flour in your recipes. If you need more confidence in your cooking, don’t fret! BiaSol already offers premade baking mixes to make using Biasol super easy. Try out their soda bread and scone mixes.
What does Biasol do to the flavour and nutrition of your bakes?
BiaSol’s flagship spent grain products all have a delicious malt flavour, making them both tasty and sustainable.
How are Fooditude using Biasol?
Their upcycled products taste great and are an inspiring example of a healthy and zero-waste product: good for the body and the supply chain. At Fooditude, our chefs love sourcing from suppliers leading in sustainable innovations – tackling issues like food waste. For us, and like-minded foodservices, upcycling ingredients is the way to go.
We’re incredibly excited to start sourcing spent grains from BiaSol and incorporating it into our menus. Recently, our chefs have experimented with several recipes aimed at reducing food waste. Some of our diner’s recent favourites are our vegan banana cake, our crumble and banana peel BLT sliders – now made with BiaSol grains.
It’s a wrap!
BiaSol’s upcycled products taste great and are an inspiring example of a healthy and zero-waste product: good for the body and the supply chain. At Fooditude, our chefs love sourcing from suppliers leading in sustainable innovations – tackling issues like food waste. For us, and like-minded foodservices, upcycling ingredients is the way to go. Watch this space for more ideas on how to tackle food waste in hospitality.
Written by Safena Yvanovich