• For every two litres of wine produced there is one litre of edible wine derivative that can be upcycled.
    For every two litres of wine produced there is one litre of edible wine derivative that can be upcycled.
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Discussions with the Australian wine industry are underway to trial technology that upcycles wine grape waste into high performance food ingredients. 

Canadian company Crush Dynamics has pioneered a patent-pending fermentation process that takes the edible derivatives – skins, seeds, andsediment – from wine making and turns them into ingredients for the plant-based protein market.

In May, the company’s seed 2 funding round raised C$3.6 million (A$4 million), with Australian AgFood Fund acornerstone investor.

AgFood Fund executive chairman Paul Jensz says, “Crush Dynamics ticked the boxes for investment differentiators we look for: sustainable, alternative, defensive with the ability to build a global supply and customer base.”

Crush Dynamics vice president of sales Shaun Richmond says, “This is a critical milestone for our company. We have validated our patent-pending biomechanical process and are shifting our focus to scale up.”

That growth includes expanding into Australia. Talks are underway with wine industry representatives to secure grape marc (the waste from wine making) supply, and alternative protein companies interested in trialling the product.

Take your marc

Crush Dynamics says for every two litres of wine produced there is one litre of edible wine derivative, and for every tonne of wine grape waste generated, 43 kilograms of methane are released into the atmosphere.

Australia produces about one billion litres of wine per annum, leaving around 22 per cent (222tonnes) as waste.

Richmond explains that even after pressing during the winemaking process, marc is still exceptionally rich in phenolic compounds, fibre, and antioxidant properties.

Using its natural, proprietary fermentation technology on specific grape derivatives, Crush Dynamics produces high-performance food ingredients rich in polyphenolic substances including flavonoids, such as quercetin, and non-flavonoids (see breakout box for definitions).

Its two main ingredients are Ruby and Gold Puree. Ruby Puree is colour compatible in darker tone formulations such as beef analogue, sauces and desserts. Gold Puree is colour compatible for light tone formulations such as plant-based dairy alternatives, and chicken analogues.

Enhance your product

“Through our proprietary upcycling process, we reduce salt and sugar, boost nutrition, eliminate off-notes and optimise taste,” Richmond says.

The resulting clean label ingredients are designed to enhance plant-based protein products, with the company saying they can reduce sodium requirements by up to 80 per cent, sugar by 50 per cent, and extend natural shelf life by 60per cent.

With the Australian plant-based meat category predicted to grow to $3 billion by 2030, and consumers wanting clean label products with a low environmental footprint, Jensz sees Crush Dynamics as a key enabler of the industry.

According to Crush Dynamics, they can improve mouthfeel and texture, provide added nutritional value through the inclusion of phytonutrients and polyphenols, and heighten and extend flavours.

The ingredients also only require labelling as “grape puree”, Richmond says.

The company has samples on the ground in Australia and is validating the suitability of Australian marc using polyphenolic profiling. Richmond says they are set for production to begin with the 2023 vintage.

The potential to reduce emissions, upcycle food waste, and create high-performance ingredients is certainly something to toast.

This article first appeared in the June edition of Food & Drink Business magazine.

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