Eat Beer

How a love of home­made beer led UCLA stu­dents Jor­dan Schwartz and Dan Kurzrock to be­come lead­ers in the war against food waste

Better Nutrition - - TREND WATCH - By Neil Zevnik

When I was grow­ing up, two of my Mom’s fa­vorite apho­risms were, “Waste not, want not” and “Eat ev­ery­thing on your plate— there are starv­ing chil­dren in Europe.” Per­haps not sur­pris­ingly, both of th­ese say­ings are ex­cru­ci­at­ingly ap­pli­ca­ble in the here and now. “Waste not, want not” has taken on even greater res­o­nance, mov­ing be­yond the con­cerns of a sin­gle house­hold and echo­ing from to­day into the fu­ture for the food needs of suc­ceed­ing gen­er­a­tions. And sub­sti­tute “sub- Sa­ha­ran Africa” for Europe, and the starv­ing chil­dren in over­whelm­ing num­bers are real and des­per­ate.

The Food Waste Cri­sis

Ac­cord­ing to the Food and Agri­cul­ture Or­ga­ni­za­tion of the United Na­tions ( FAO), one- third of all food pro­duced for hu­man con­sump­tion— 1.3 bil­lion tons— is wasted ev­ery year. That fig­ure is even higher in the U. S.— 40 per­cent of our food, worth $ 680 bil­lion, is wasted each year. This is the food we leave un­eaten on our plates, the dis­carded past- date food­stuff s that are still fine for con­sump­tion, and the less than cos­met­i­cally per­fect fruits and veg­eta­bles that never even make it to the su­per­mar­ket.

It’s such an over­whelm­ing cri­sis, one hardly knows where to be­gin to eff ect change. But two beer- lov­ing UCLA un­der­grad­u­ates stum­bled upon a no­tion that led to a small step of recla­ma­tion. It has blos­somed into a se­ri­ously com­mit­ted com­pany that seeks to lead the way in a cru­sade against food waste.

Two Beer Lovers; One Great Idea

Col­lege stu­dents Jor­dan Schwartz and Dan Kurzrock de­cided that the best way to en­joy their fa­vorite bev­er­age— beer— was to make it them­selves. When they found them­selves schlep­ping buck­ets of spent grain out to the trash, they discovered that, as Kurzrock says, “It looked like oat­meal, smelled like bread, and felt like we were throw­ing away food, so we de­cided to do some­thing about it.” So they de­cided to turn that “waste” grain into bread, which they sold to fel­low stu­dents to sup­port their beer habit.

From Beer to Su­per­grains

“We re­al­ized we could build an in­gre­di­ent plat­form to close the loop be­tween the brew­ing in­dus­try and the food sys­tem glob­ally,” says Schwartz. Specifi cally, he and Kurzrock set out to cre­ate a su­per­grain from beer waste and incorporate it into gra­nola- type bars. Thus was born ReGrained Su­per­Grain Bars, nu­tri­ent- dense, eth­i­cally sourced snack bars wrapped in sus­tain­able pack­ag­ing. There are three fla­vors to choose from: Honey Cin­na­mon IPA Im­mune Sup­port­ing Su­per­Grain Bar, Choco­late Coff ee Stout En­er­giz­ing Su­per­Grain Bar, and Blue­berry Sun­flower Sai­son An­tiox­i­dant Su­per­Grain Bar.

But that’s just the tip of the ice­berg. Once their unique su­per­grain ( called Su­per­grain+) is patented, Schwartz and Kurzrock note that its ap­pli­ca­tions and uses will be nearly end­less. “Hu­man­ity has put it­self in the midst of an en­vi­ron­men­tal cri­sis. We’re mo­ti­vated to be a part of the so­lu­tion,” says Kurzrock.

“We be­lieve the mar­ket will re­ward pur­pose- driven busi­nesses for do­ing the right thing,” adds Schwartz. “We be­lieve that our val­ues will en­able us to cre­ate last­ing value, and this will never change.”

“I wouldn’t trade the sense of pur­pose this im­bues in us for any­thing in the world,” says Kurzrock. Hope­fully, this is how you save the world— one pas­sion­ate and in­no­va­tive step at a time.

“It is ab­surd that some­thing like 1 in 7 Amer­i­cans is un­sure of where their next meal will come from, while 40 per­cent of all ed­i­ble food is wasted,” says Dan Kurzrock, co­founder of ReGrained, shown here ( left) with his busi­ness part­ner Jor­dan Schwartz.

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