Client Projects

GroundUp eco-ventures

The push for a more sustainable future has added urgency to dealing with byproducts in the food industry. Some of our work, including this project conducted in partnership with GroundUp eco-ventures, explores ways to recover and repurpose waste into new ingredients.

GroundUp is an Alberta-based start-up that upcycles leftover materials from the food production process and repurposes them as flour. The company’s owner, Shawn Leggett, enlisted Prairie Research Kitchen to support the development of an eco-friendly, locally sourced, high protein, instant pancake mix made with brewer’s spent grain (BSG) and a brownie mix made with recycled coffee grounds.

Because they contain little or no gluten and high fibre, neither ingredient can function as a traditional wheat flour. Gluten is often what forms the structure of a baked good, and without it, we were challenged with finding other ingredients to do the work.

Following weeks of trials, PRK culinary research assistant Anna Borys overcame the project’s main challenge of improving the texture that comes with high-fibre material. Her analysis of the trials and multiple ingredient combinations led to a formulation that improved the functionality of BSG flour. From there, the entire PRK team worked with GroundUp on tasting trials.

Then, after producing dozens of samples of each baking mix and testing many batches of pancakes, waffles, and brownies, PRK produced a refined recipe and optimal cooking procedure, as well as feedback and recommendations for future products. The combination we developed led GroundUp to launch its ready-to-mix packages alongside its individual flours.

GroundUp’s Born Again Protein Brownies were named the grand prize winner at the 2022 Made in Alberta Awards given by the Alberta Food Processors Association. GroundUp’s Better Breakfast High-Protein Pancake Mix and brownie mix also won gold for innovation of the year at the 2022 SIAL Canada trade show in Montreal.

“It’s mind-blowing how quickly our upcycling concept was transformed into an award-winning product after we tapped into the incredible resources at Prairie Research Kitchen,” says Leggett. “Combining their technical knowledge with our passion and energy allowed the team to perfect our idea through refinement trials that have resulted in us shattering all projections.”

Although the brownie and waffle mixes are ready to eat, we couldn’t resist creating a crêpe with the existing mix for this book and adding some pizzazz to the toppings.