“Innovations that will change the world: The power of edible upcycling”
We’re here today with Tom Clemente, CEO of Coffee Flour to look at how these innovations in the production process and supply chain can have a vast impact on us all. This idea of edible upcycling is one that has powerful implications not just for the food and beverage world, but for everyone who wants to live on a sustainable planet.
Tom, thanks so much for joining us today!
My pleasure. Thanks for inviting me to participate.
Tom, it was such a pleasure to have you as a panelist for our “Edible Upcycling” discussion at eBev2018…so glad we have the chance to dig in a little further here! Let’s start at the beginning: what is edible upcycling, and how quickly are companies/brands moving to invest in these types of products?
Edible upcycling is an important concept where we need to ensure we are not wasting precious resource. At the Coffee Cherry Company (aka Coffee Flour) we are taking a heretofore unused byproduct of coffee bean production and converting it from an environmental waste issue into a super food. There are over 47 billion pounds of coffee cherries annually from coffee bean production.
We take that product that normally is put in the fields to rot and dry in and make a “Food Safe” Super food that can be used in Beverages Baking and Chocolates that currently rot in the farmers fields.
Many companies are looking to use the Coffee Cherry as it is a very versatile ingredient that can be used to reduce sugar in foods, add fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidant and provide consumers with “Stealth Health” while enjoying the foods and beverages they love!
I know we would have loved to hear more about Coffee Flour and the Coffee Flour story last month at eBev – can you share more about what Coffee Flour stands for and how you’ve gotten to this point?
Our Founder Dan Belliveau was at a coffee farm working on another engineering project for a farmer when the farmer pointed to a pile of rotting fruit in the field and said if Dan could figure out a solution for the mounds of fruit he would be a genius. Dan began working on a process that he later patented to safely process the fruit into a food safe product, the dried cherry pulp. (DCP) After putting the finished product through a series of food safety tests Dan had the product milled into multiple grind sizes to be used in beverage, baking and chocolate making.
The three key things about the Coffee Cherry Company. We are
1) dedicated to helping the coffee farmers,
2) improving the environment and
3) helping to feed a hungry world.
The coffee farmers are struggling with a very low C-Price for coffee. Selling the Coffee Cherries gives farmers additional revenue. It also creates additional jobs at origin as the Coffee Cherry needs to be processed at the same time as the bean to prevent fermentation and mold from forming on the fruit. As for the environment, rotting Coffee Cherries pollute the water table as they rot. Additionally, the Coffee Cherries release methane gas into the environment as they decompose. Both issues to the environment. From a hungry world perspective, there are over 47 billion pounds of Coffee Cherries annually that can be converted into a nutrient rich super food. That can help improve the diets of many and feed a lot of hungry people.
With a story and mission that align so well with socially conscious consumers (a rapidly growing segment), where are you finding, winning, and engaging with your fans? Do particular channels/platforms seem to work best?
Our success has started with other innovative and forward-thinking companies. Dan Kurzrock is the co-founder and Chief Grain Officer at Regrained. Dan became a partner to the Coffee Cherry Company early on. As other companies see this innovation they are quickly looking to follow Dan’s lead. With the Coffee Cherry Company, we are finding the key channels for our products are in beverages, baking and chocolate making.
As an innovative and progressive product, how important is educating the consumer as you plot your roadmap (and what kind of resources are you aiming in that direction)?
With the Coffee Cherry Company, education is critical. It is amazing how many consumers don’t know coffee comes from cherries. Also, consumers have no idea of the environmental challenges caused by the coffee bean production. Finally, with the Coffee Cherry and flour made from it, there is an education process on how to use it properly. It is extremely versatile ingredient that adds nutritional benefits and it is great tasting. But…it needs to be used correctly to get the best performance.
Finally, I love asking folks like yourself to look into their crystal ball and tell us what’s coming. Where do you see Coffee Flour, and the edible upcycling food segment as a whole, in 5 years?
With the Coffee Cherry Company establishing relationships with many food and beverage companies globally I expect we will be able to significantly improve the economics for the coffee farmers, significantly improve the environment at coffee origin countries and help feed a hungry planet with what had been byproducts. Great question. Thanks for asking!
Tom thank you so much for joining us today and for sharing the Coffee Flour story with our audience. We wish you all the best with the next steps and hope that many companies will follow your footsteps.
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