The Future of Protein Production Summit Speaker Profile: Rebecca Bradley, Chief Marketing Officer, Terra Bioindustries
She impressed with a pitch at the 2022 Future of Food Production Summit last November, with an innovation turning by-products into proteins and a feed-stock for fermentation companies. Now, Rebecca Bradley is going to see if she can wow the judges at The Future of Protein Production Summit
Hello Rebecca, you're representing one of 18 young companies appearing in our Startup Pitch Symposiums at The Future of Protein Production Summit. Could you let us know a little bit about the genesis of Terra Bioindustries?
Steve (George) and Ricardo (Martinez), Terra’s founders, were exploring the opportunities of sustainable biotechnology when they began experimenting with using food waste to feed algae. They were able to source some brewers’ spent grain from a local brewery as one of the first feed-stocks. The grains were used in the early brewing stages where the sugars and flavors were extracted, leaving behind fiber and protein that they can digest and use to feed algae. Both Steve and Ricardo have years of experience with bioprocess engineering and industrial scale-up so they noticed a major flaw with this process. The grains were digested to provide sugar and nitrogen for the algae but much of the material went unused.
This is when they realized that the protein in the grains was so abundant that it was not being used by the algae and, instead, could be its own valuable commodity. They quickly developed a way to extract the protein from the grains and then convert the remaining material into a fermentation feed-stock. This allowed Terra to produce a plant-based protein ingredient directly from the spent grains while also creating a more pure feed-stock for the biotech industry. With the demand for plant-based ingredients continuing to grow and supply chains struggling, Terra noticed a need for a circular alt protein ingredient that directly connects breweries and food manufacturers into the circular economy.
Is that circular aspect of your model what makes you stand out from much of the crowd in alternative proteins?
Our unique upcycling platform turns food by-products into valuable ingredients for growing industries, which is pretty unique. Currently, we are in the final development stages of commercializing our brewers’ spent grains upcycling platform that turns spent grains into a plant-based protein ingredient, Protina, and a biotech feed-stock, Recyclose. This novel platform allows us to breakdown materials into valuable components so that we actively reduce food waste while producing carbon-preventing ingredients for our customers. These ingredients provide a drop-in solution that helps to reduce Scope 3 emissions without compromising performance.
Within the alternative proteins space, Terra offers Protina to food manufacturers looking for a sustainable protein ingredient that reduces their carbon footprint while providing a unique texture and mild taste.
For fermenters creating their own sustainable proteins, we offer Recyclose, an upcycled sugar that is an easier way to incorporate sustainable feed-stocks.
What make is unique is how we turn food by-products, like spent grains, into multiple products allowing us to use them more efficiently than ever before. By preventing emissions from food waste means all of our products reduce the footprint of our customers simply by making the swap.
Have you found it hard getting to where you are today?
Our biggest challenges have been around building our supply chain. Terra’s mission is to connect our existing linear supply chains into circular economies, which means we have had to build our own bridges to make that happen. As a startup, it was hard at first to know how to ensure production and supply for our customers. But now, as we approach commercial launch (Q4 in 2023), we have learned that our greatest strength has come from building our supply chain ourselves. It has allowed us to connect with the right innovators from breweries, transportation, production, and food manufacturing.
We are always finding new ways to connect our partners in to our circular economy so we make it our goal to build more and more bridges – each one a unique challenge.
Given how you have built the company thus far, collaboration is a must for you guys?
It is the biggest component of our business. Collaborations have helped us get to where we are both in process/product development and in business development. Young companies, especially startups, have small teams. Although these small teams have the passion to innovate and implement change, collaborations give them the resources and expertise to make it happen. As businesses grow, the opportunity for peer collaboration grows also. We’ve seen start ups collaborate with large corporations and SMEs collaborating with other local SMEs. This has been heavily promoted in the alternative proteins sector. With so many new innovations, advancements, and marketing strategies emerging every day, we believe there is never enough collaboration.
Finally, what will be the key takeaways for our delegates from what you bring to the table at the Summit?
Ultimately, we are making carbon prevention easier for producers. A simple product swaps allow companies in food and fermentation to reduce their Scope 3 emissions. With our commercial launch at the end of 2023, we are looking for partners that are looking to get involved with the circular economy. As well as offering Protina and Recyclose samples to food producers and fermenters, we are searching for new spent grain suppliers, and we are raising our seed round in Q1 2023.
The Future of Protein Production Summit takes place virtually on 21/22/23 February 2023. Tickets are on sale now so to register to hear Rebecca and more than 80 other speakers, 50 presentations, eight panel discussions, and three start up pitch symposiums, click here
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