The Company Turning Wine-Making Waste Into Food

With innovative technology companies blazing trails through most economic sectors, it's no surprise that food gets its fair share of attention. Tech wizards offer some pretty creative approaches to how and what ends up in our stomachs. From alternative meats to plant resilience, app-based food marketing, and even a commercial agriculture weeding robot built on artificial intelligence, per Fast Company, technology in the food industry is here to stay. So, what happens when a startup tech company turns its eye toward food waste, particularly the enormous amount generated by the wine industry? The world is about to find out. 

A Canadian company received $3.6 million in seed 2 financing in April 2022 to create nutritious plant-based food out of wine-making waste, otherwise known as "grape derivatives," according to Food Dive. In typical legend lore, it all started with unexpected curiosity — this time, involving a man, a bike, and an enterprising bear.

Upcycling grape debris from winemaking

As the story goes, per Food Dive, a man named Bill Broddy was cruising on his bike not far from a winery. Suddenly, he spotted a bear gobbling from a pile of pomace, which is the leftover skins and seeds of grapes used in winemaking. Fascinated, he watched the bear a bit longer, prompting him to contact wine consultant Gary Strachan, who explained the potent nutritional value of pomace, most of which is discarded after the grapes have been pressed for wine. The vegconomist notes that pomace is chockfull of fiber, phenolic compounds, and antioxidants, which have mostly gone to waste — until now.

Broddy launched CrushDynamics in 2016 to ultimately transform pomace into high-performance food ingredients that are rich in polyphenols, explains CrushDynamics. The ingredients enhance plant-based formulations, reduce sodium in food by as much as 80%, improve texture and taste, and extend expiration dates by as much as 60%. The company notes that its patent-pending biochemical upcycling process, which uses 100% naturally-sourced grape derivatives, includes fermentation for the growth of probiotics, which can improve immunity, the digestive system, and heart health.

CrushDynamics states a mission of food becoming "Better for People, Better for the Planet." And with the U.S. alone consuming 1.1 billion gallons of wine in 2021, per the Wine Institute, let's hope they succeed.