Circular Food Solutions Switzerland: a circular economy solution for the Swiss vegetable meat market

Swiss meat alternative based on upcycled brewer's grains

06-Jul-2022 - Switzerland

Bühler AG and CN & Partners AG today announce their joint venture to create Circular Food Solutions Switzerland AG, a new company that will produce a Swiss meat alternative based on upcycled brewer's grains from Switzerland. The locally produced product is a true upcycled solution that is rich in protein and fiber and has a low environmental impact. "For decades, brewer's grains were used as feed for animals. Now we are reusing it to produce healthy and tasty meat alternatives," says Johannes Wick, CEO of Bühler's Grains & Food business unit. "We are committed to sustainable living and demonstrate this through our actions," says Swiss entrepreneur Christoph Nyfeler, owner of CN & Partners AG.


Friedrich Witschi, Business Development Officer CFS Global at Bühler, Swiss entrepreneur Christoph Nyfeler, owner of CN & Partners AG, Johannes Wick, CEO Business Grains & Food at Bühler, and Carsten Petry, CEO Circular Food Solutions at Bühler (from left to right).

Upcycling, a process in which byproducts and waste materials are transformed into new materials or products that have greater value, is the holy grail of the circular economy. In brewing beer, the starch from the barley malt is used to make beer. The remainder is called spent grain. Traditionally, it is used as feed for animals. But a large part of the nutritious part of the grain is in this brewer's spent grain.

Swiss entrepreneur Christoph Nyfeler has entered into a joint venture with Bühler AG to create a new company, Circular Food Solutions Switzerland AG, based in Lenzburg, Switzerland. The partnership combines Bühler's processing expertise and intellectual property with CN & Partners' capabilities, experience and network to create a new solution for the plant-based meat market. Circular Food Solutions Switzerland will source spent grain from Swiss breweries that use Swiss malt. "We are working closely with Bühler on the detailed planning at the chosen site. If we can ensure an efficient supply chain, we expect to start operations in summer 2023," Nyfeler says.

Tasty, sustainable, local

The market for plant-based meat is growing rapidly at an annual rate of 15 to 20 percent. As a result, there is a need for additional protein sources as a more sustainable option for product formulation. Circular Food Solutions Switzerland's plant-based meat products have several key advantages in this regard.

Circular Food Solutions Switzerland's main raw material - spent grain - is often discarded by brewers. "Upgrading this side stream contributes to the circular economy and helps reduce food waste. In addition, we will use ingredients from the region, as the production site is close to the main raw material supplier. It is therefore much more sustainable than other vegetable proteins with long delivery routes," says Nyfeler. Another feature that reduces environmental impact: The fresh brewer's grains are taken directly and processed without the need for an energy-intensive drying process.

Circular Food Solutions Switzerland has other advantages that are attractive to consumers. Circular Food Solutions Switzerland products are naturally rich in fiber, protein and trace elements. The meat substitute products also have a compelling texture and top taste, as demonstrated by several blind tastings with other market players.

Innovation combined with entrepreneurship

The original idea to use brewer's grains in this way came about as part of an innovation competition at Bühler. The team behind it saw an opportunity to create a new product from this valuable byproduct stream and drove its development through a start-up, Circular Food Solutions AG (CFS Global), which has since been spun off from Bühler. In CN & Partners AG, Bühler has found a true entrepreneur with a start-up mentality to lead the way to market readiness and proof of concept. "In January 2022, we started producing Swiss malt with Schweizer Mälzerei AG, and soon we will be able to offer a true Swiss upcycled food product," says Nyfeler.

"This is a great example of circular economy. We are extracting valuable elements from regionally produced food waste, mixing it with other protein-rich sources, and producing high-quality, nutritious food in Switzerland. Moreover, it is truly sustainable because we use each barley grain twice - once to make beer and then to produce the meat substitute," says Carsten Petry, CEO of CFS Global.

Bühler intends to make this approach available in different countries. "We would like to find entrepreneurs in other parts of the world who, like CN & Partners, have the local production and retail contacts and experience and would like to work with us in a similar way," says Johannes Wick. "We want to join forces to drive a truly sustainable circular economy in meat alternatives."

Note: This article has been translated using a computer system without human intervention. LUMITOS offers these automatic translations to present a wider range of current news. Since this article has been translated with automatic translation, it is possible that it contains errors in vocabulary, syntax or grammar. The original article in German can be found here.

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