Updated: Apr 1
Grain4Grain co-founder and CEO Yoni Medhin is altering the way we approach food waste and revolutionizing an industry in the process.
A recent study by Emergen Research on global food market trends outlined the ways food tech impacts societies worldwide. According to the study, in 2019, North America dominated the global market for food tech with its share of 43.1%. In the same year, the global food tech market signaled a $220.32 billion industry, and market forecasts indicate the market will continue its rapid ascent and reach $342.52 billion by 2027.
Advanced technologies in food processing techniques, including innovations in robotics, data technology, and rising demand from consumers for healthier, less expensive, and safer food products, are all contributors to driving the food-tech market. As food tech continues to improve upon how we grow, store, and distribute food resources, it becomes clear that innovators in food tech are redefining the global food industry and its future for the better.
Using Advancements in Technology To Create a Healthier Ingredient
In San Antonio, a startup has found a way to disrupt the food tech industry further while improving how we view food waste in our communities. Yoni Medhin, co-founder and CEO of Grain4Grain, uses technology to upcycle spent grain and create a low carb, high protein flour. The approach offers “a healthy and sustainable ingredient at affordable prices to consumers and product makers.”
At the crossroads of wellness and sustainability, Medhin’s line of products are years in the making, beginning in Colorado as a student pursuing a career in the oil and gas sector.
“I was working as a petroleum engineer for about two years. During that time, I had an interest in brewing, and so I followed that,” Medhin said. “I have always had this affinity for wanting to do my own thing and work for myself. So how that played out is that on my lunch break, while I was an engineer, I was just going to different breweries and talking to different folks in entrepreneurship.”
Finding Success Through A Range of Products and Possibilities
Medhin took his cues for developing the process by looking for ways to create efficiencies using spent grain.
“The U.S. alone produces about 6 million tons of this byproduct,” Medhin said. “So, it’s generally one pound of spent grain for every six-pack of beer. So there’s this huge volume of supply that if there were a way to upcycle that and turn it into a useful ingredient. There’s just a huge variety of applications.”
The result? A range of products used by consumers to create healthy, low carb, high-protein recipes including:
Keto-Friendly Upcycled Spent Grain Pancake and Waffle Mix
Keto-Friendly Upcycled Spent Grain Chocolate Pancake & Waffle Mix
Barely Barley Upcycled Spent Grain Flour 16oz
Upcycled Spend Grain 1-to-1 High Protein Replacement Flour 16oz
Chili Paprika Seasoned Coating
Lemon Pepper Seasoned Coating
“Every stakeholder wins. The brewery gets revenue from their byproducts, and the consumer gets a high-quality ingredient,” Medhin said. “We get the benefit of being the middle ground of being able to take a byproduct and turn it into something useful.”
The opportunity to merge his experience and interests proved a valuable recipe for success.
“It became a very compelling project to pursue. So, as I started to deep dive into it, I realized that there have been tons of attempts since the early 1900s to turn [spent grain] into a food ingredient. There were some successes, but mostly huge failures in investments from companies like General Mills, Miller Corp., Anheuser Busch, Unilever, and other major companies.”
A barrier major companies haven’t managed to solve is the logistics involved, including transporting the perishable ingredient to a manufacturing plant. Medhin found that location played a key role. Based in San Antonio, the city offers proximity to breweries and lively markets.
“We were able to identify a central location to pick up from multiple breweries. We bring it to our own plant, where we dry and mill the grain into flour, we bag that flour, and then we’re able to either turn that into a product under the Grain4Grain brand or sell it in bulk to customers to make their own products. There are people that make crackers, chips, buns, tortillas, pizza dough, and bread with our flour.”
Medhin hopes to bring Grain4Grain to as many consumers as possible in a continued effort to exceed expectations.
“For us, wherever there is [a need] for flour, we want to be there. If anyone is looking to try to do something very new, we want to be considered as one of those innovative ingredients that they can rely on as a product.”
Consumers can find Medhin’s product at HEB and will likely be available at more storefronts shortly. As the food tech space continues to grow and evolve, you’ll likely be hearing a lot more of Medhin and his innovative line of products.
Looking for more information?
For more information, including ways to order bulk spent grain for wholesale, visit the company’s website at grain4grain.com.