Capacity-Building Projects

MAHRN BSG Miso Project

One early capacity-building projects for our Culinary Research team was a collaboration in 2017 with the Manitoba Agri-Health Research Network (MAHRN, led by Lee Anne Murphy), the University of Manitoba’s Food Science department, and two industry partners, Farmery Estate Brewery and Torque Brewing. The project’s goal was to explore ways to use spent grains from the beer brewing process to produce value-added products.

The first step involved developing viable ideas and researching the process, including a literature review, market research, and ideation – important precursors to coming up with new innovations. From this stage, the team devised the miso and soy sauce applications that would serve as the basis for our research.

Miso is a traditional Japanese seasoning that typically has a salty flavour. A thick paste, it is normally made from fermenting soybeans combined with salt and koji (rice or soy inoculated with the Aspergillus oryzae fungus), plus a few other ingredients. Our collaboration put a unique new twist on this ancient culinary staple while demonstrating how the team could work with government and industry partners to find unexpected, innovative commercial opportunities.

As a by-product of the brewing process, spent grains are usually used as animal feed, although more recently they are also used as flour for baking products (see GroundUp eco-ventures, page 69). In this project, researchers explored ways to produce miso using spent grains (malt in particular) rather than soy. The new malt miso developed from this project highlighted how PRK could serve growing industries like Manitoba’s brewers by adding value to their processes and bringing new products to market.

The miso was unveiled at a taste-testing event in our research kitchen, where guests sampled popcorn, soup, and pastries seasoned with pale malt miso from Farmery and dark malt miso from Torque.

The spent grain miso project was made possible thanks to funding from a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Innovation Enhancement grant and from Growing Forward 2, a five-year federal-provincial-territorial policy framework to advance the agriculture industry, helping producers and processors become more innovative and competitive in world markets.