Royal Cosun, global plant-based ingredient producer, placed an open call for plant-based protein innovation with Terra being amongst the top 3 winners this summer of 2023. The open innovation challenge targeted startups on the verge of scaling a unique innovation for protein extraction, cellular protein production, protein applications, agricultural technology, and/or circular byproduct solution. Many startups submitted their pitch decks prior to the initial June 19th, 2023 deadline, with 3 companies being selected for the pitching finals. The top 3 finalists could win a chance to work with experts at the Cosun innovation team, valued at over US$15,000 in total prizes.

The Winning Factors

Terra Bioindustries’ upcycling platform met the mark with a novel protein extraction and circular byproduct solution rolled into one! The pitch deck outlined Terra’s brewers’ spent grain upcycling platform that sources local spent grain to create 2 competitively-priced industry inputs. The spent grain protein is separated out of the grains to create their upcycled protein ingredient, Protina, while the remaining fibers are broken down into sugars, creating their upcycled sugar ingredient, Recyclose. It was the estimated environmental impact that made Terra’s upcycled products stand out: while food waste is being redirected into upcycling, more carbon emissions are being prevented than either Protina or Recyclose could produce. Terra suggested an opportunity to actively decarbonize existing supply chains simply by upcycling byproducts like spent grains! The environmental impact, novel protein ingredient, and clear plan for commercialization helped to secure Terra’s place in the finals.

Alongside Terra were Symbiagro, an agtech, bio-stimulant producer, and Reinvent Protein, an ingredient innovator helping companies improve the performance of plant-based protein ingredients.

Learn more about the challenge and the finalists on the Royal Cosun Connect page below.