ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI, US — The idea that led to EverGrain traces back to a brewery in Belgium in 2013. Greg Belt, then leading a sustainability program for Anheuser-Busch InBev, became aware of “spent grains,” which he calls a misnomer.
“The brewers don’t capture all the nutrients that are there,” he said. “What’s left is a great source of protein and fiber. We call it the golden remainder.”
He became involved in a project at AB InBev, Leuven, Belgium, to find a use for spent grains/golden remainder. Two years ago, it was decided the project would become EverGrain, a St. Louis-based company that is separate from AB InBev although AB InBev invests in EverGrain and supplies spent grains.
“We operate separately,” said Belt, a founding member of EverGrain and its chief executive officer. “Anheuser-Busch is our partner and obviously our raw material supplier.”
EverGrain offers two ingredients. EverVita is ideal for baked foods like bread, pasta and pizza crust, Belt said. EverPro is more conducive to protein shakes and plant-based milks.
EverVita will allow bakers to achieve claims of excellent source of fiber or excellent source of protein in their products, he said.
“So if there is someone who maybe wants to consume bread but feels guilty about having bread because of the starch that comes along with it, we’re seeing some really cool innovative breads being brought to the market, whether it’s high protein or high fiber,” Belt said.
EverVita offers other benefits besides health to baked foods, according to the company. In bread, it increases specific volume and moistens crumb compared to whole meal flour. In cakes and muffins, it provides water-binding properties to retain moisture during baking. In cookies and biscuits, EverVita provides a golden-brown color and promotes crispiness and crunchiness.
EverVita is made in Liège, Belgium, and will have more of a European focus since people there are more knowledgeable about barley, Belt said.
“The US consumer is aware of barley,” Belt said. “They view it as healthy, but they often don’t see barley in applications outside of cereal.”
EverPro is made in Newark, New Jersey, US. It will have more of a US focus, especially because of the popularity of plant-based milk alternatives.
Both ingredients have patents pending. Both may be labeled as barley protein, barley fiber or barley flour.
“AB InBev is proud to support such a remarkable, purpose-driven venture with a mission to create incredible ingredients to nourish the world through the transformative power of circularity,” said Tony Milikin, chief sustainability and procurement officer for AB InBev. “EverGrain marks an important milestone in our ultimate goal of building a better world as we look to the next 100 years and beyond.”
EverGrain has other partners besides AB InBev. Univar Solutions, Inc., Downers Grove, Illinois, US, is distributing the ingredients for food, beverage and nutraceutical products in the United States, Canada and various countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Belgium-based Puratos and EverGrain are working together on bread applications.
“Puratos is probably the best company in terms of making artisan and great-tasting breads,” Belt said. “We’ve partnered with them on some of these types of concepts, of bringing additional nutrition into bread.”
Frederik Lievens, group products director for Puratos, said, “At Puratos, our ambition is to accelerate the transformation of our industry. EverGrain’s barley offers a unique plant-based protein and fiber option that doesn’t require additional land, saves water and lowers a product’s overall carbon footprint. At Puratos we are working with EverGrain to develop the ingredient technology that will allow bakeries to make great-tasting, nutritious and sustainable breads featuring barley ingredients in line with consumer preferred texture and freshness expectations.”