Oakland's Renewal Mill Wins Award

The company transforms peels, pits, and other by-products into nutritious ingredients.


Image: Kristan Lawson

Renewal Mill, an Oakland-based company that seeks to reduce food waste by transforming such usually-discarded plant parts as nut shells, vegetable peels, and olive pits into actual edible ingredients, has just won a Future Food Disruptor of the Year award.

Announced just days ago at the Institute of Food Technologists' annual meeting and exhibition in Chicago, the award also included a $25,000 cash prize and enrollment in a six-week mentoring program. 

“We are redefining mass-market nutrition by creating healthier, tastier, cheaper ingredients for all,” said Renewal Mill's co-founder Sumit Kadakia, as quoted at BakingBusiness.com.

Founded in 2016, Renewal Mill reclaims grape and olive pomace, potato peels, and the pulpy by-products of almond-milk and soy-milk production. Its main product is high-fiber, high-protein, mineral-rich okara flour, which can be baked into breads, pies, and other fare. 

“Oftentimes nutrients are stripped from our food during processing, which is correlated with our rise in heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. And this wasted nutrition has severe environmental and social consequences.

“Our industry-leading work to capture these by-products is alleviating these concerns as well as generating value back for food processors," said Kadakia, whose company has also developed a line of packaged okara-based cookies.

Other 2018 Food Disruptor of the Year award-winners include Toronto-based C-fu, which makes insect-protein concentrate to be used in beverages as well as textured insect protein to be used as a meat replacement; Iowa-based aeroponic-system builder Nebullam; and Brooklyn-based Rise Products, which converts beer-brewers' spent grain into flour.

“Okara is a tremendous source of fiber, protein, and calcium and has a very low net carb,” Kadakia added. “Most importantly, it doesn’t change the taste, texture, or appearance of any of our favorite foods.”

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