Cycling up collaboration: Nestle and KosmodeHealth looking at product innovation to boost valorisation partnership

By Pearly Neo

- Last updated on GMT

Nestle Singapore and upcycling specialist firm KosmodeHealth are looking at new product innovations with valorised ingredients. ©Getty Images
Nestle Singapore and upcycling specialist firm KosmodeHealth are looking at new product innovations with valorised ingredients. ©Getty Images

Related tags Nestlé Upcycling

Nestle Singapore and upcycling specialist firm KosmodeHealth are looking at new product innovations with valorised ingredients in an effort to move forward with their award-winning upcycling collaboration.

When we first spoke to KosmodeHealth in 2021, the firm had just embarked on its milestone collaboration with firms such as Nestle to collect spent barley grains on a small scale​, transforming these into its zero-GI, high-protein W0W Noodles.

Almost three years on, this collaboration has just taken home the SICC Most Transformational Award 2023 from the Singapore International Chamber of Commerce (SICC), awarded to local collaborations that have resulted in the ‘biggest gains in the areas of increased capacity, value creation, productivity improvements, revenue growth and/or return on investment’.

Describing the award as a ‘steroid’ to boost team morale as well as to encourage more food manufacturers to maximise the value of their food waste, KosmodeHealth Co-Founder and CEO Florence Leong said that the team is preparing to embark on an even more collaborative partnership with Nestle.

“Nestle is the largest producing of Spent Barley Grains (SBG) after their malt production [in Singapore] providing KosmodeHealth with this SBG [which we] then extract protein and fibre from to make into valorised barley protein fibre products,”​ she told FoodNavigator-Asia.

“Now that we have demonstrated the feasibility of creating functional food for blood sugar control, Nestle is exploring the incorporation of this valorised barley protein fibre into their products.

“These could include items such as biscuits, beverage and even ice-cream to have similar nutritional benefits like [our] W0W Noodles.”

This was confirmed by Nestle R&D Singapore Centre Head for ASEAN Gugielmo Bonora, who added: “Nestle is [looking forward to] embark on this collaboration with KosmodeHealth.

“[This will include] exploring the possibility to extend the Barley Protein Fibre powder for use in various types of products, to hopefully enhance the value of nutrition and sustainability."

One of the major challenges previously faced by both parties on expanding the collaboration, thus having to keep SBG collection to a small scale, was the issue of the collection process on Nestle’s end not being food grade.

“We are now in close discussion on the supply of food grade SBG [which was previously a big hurdle as collection was via a chute for feed and fertiliser], whereas for food grade items like ours we need this to be manually packed fresh,”​ Leong added.

“[There are many benefits to be found if so], as the ability to scale up our valorisation efforts with a consistent supply of SBG that has batch-by-batch consistency [would] enable functional claims to be made.

“Working with a large firm such as Nestle also means [that our efforts can then be extended into] opportunities of selling the valorised protein fibre back to the source of the food processing waste.”

Other challenges

That said, Leong acknowledged that it may take some time to not only make these efforts widespread, including working with more big and overseas corporations.

“The main challenges of working with large corporations are the bureaucracy involved in decision-making, having to slow down the pace of innovation, and needing to manage the needs of different stakeholders with different KPIs,”​ she said.

“We are currently in fund-raising mode to raise funds to reach out to food manufacturers outside Singapore, hopefully to enable food manufacturers to repurpose their food processing wastes beyond just SBG).

“We are also formulating more sustainable functional food prototypes (such as 0 spike protein fibre bread and rehydratable protein fibre 0 blood sugar spike noodles) from SBG; and have started working with wheat bran which is the second-largest type of food processing waste in the country.”

One of the firm’s most interesting product developments has been ‘rice’ made from wheat bran, claiming to have functional protein and cause zero blood sugar spikes.

The development of this aims to tackle multiple food sector and public health challenges including poor rice yields and greenhouse gas emissions from related agriculture, as well as health-related complications from rice overconsumption due to its high starch content.

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