It’s estimated that about a third of the food we grow is never consumed.
Regrained works to fight the against wasted food by upcycling spent grain from the brewing industry into Super Grain Bars that are packaged in wrappers that can break down organically and return to the earth.
To find out more behind how Regrained got its start and what’s in store for the future, Josh interviews Regrained founder, Daniel Kurzrock.
More about the episode...
Josh sits down with Regrained founder Kurzrock. Have you ever thought of where the wrapper from your protein bar ends up? Have you ever sat at a bar and pondered what happens to the spent grains after beer is shipped out to bars? Regrained is a snack bar company that is challenging the food industry by completely basing their bars off upcycled spent grains from the brewing industry coupled with wrappers that can break down organically and return to the earth. Those we often enjoy prepacked foods and beverages, it’s easy to forget the true life cycle of a product. Regrained was born to remind us of where those products come from and go to, while delivering a consciously made and irresistible snack bar.
Have an opinion? We want to hear it! Join the conversation and leave a comment, check out show notes, and get all the links mentioned in this episode below.
- Check out Regrained’s website
- Order some Regrained bars and eat beer!
- More about their edible upcycling and sustainable packaging
- Follow Regrained on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
- Invest in Regrained
What is Regrained all about?
“Regrained is a food company that has come up with a way to take the grain that the beer brewing process creates and we resque that...we come up with a way to turn it back into a raw ingredient, into a flour, and then we use that flour and we create healthy, sustainable, and delicious snacks…”
How did you come up with this idea?
“Necessity is the mother of invention they say. I was an underaged college student and in this case it was actually beer that drew me in. We couldn’t buy beer, of course, and learned how to make beer…everytime we made a batch of beer we found we were left with a cooler that looked like oatmeal and throwing it away just felt really wasteful...”
So, you started this process in 2011 and in 2013 you turned it into a full fledged business correct?
“Yeah more or less. So, the way I describe oru roots is recreational entrepreneurs. We loved what we were doing so much but it was a side hustle until 2016, really…”
Did you always know you wanted to start a business?
“In retrospect there is a clear arc that you can find for both me and my co-founder, Jordan. Growing up I was always really interested in leadership and starting youth groups. In highschool I got really into designing merchandise for the youth group which was essentially an entrepreneurial position…”
How did you develop your product?
“When we first started we used to joke that our product tasted like a good idea… we just made small batch after small batch of bread, then eventually granola, then bars and try to take the feedback of our customers, friends, and family… We actually just launched our first two flavors of bars and launched a third flavor and these were actually professionally developed…”
What did you do to grow your audience?
“We’re starting to dip our toes into brick and mortar. We started to get into retail softly in our home market, really as a learning exercise...we tried to create a very fun, approachable, people driven brand that puts our values out front; talking freely about things like compostable packaging, why most companies don’t do that, and why we do that…”
Can you dive a little deeper into Regrained’s mission?
“So, it’s estimated that about a third of the food we grow is never consumed. Which is a pretty staggering stat especially when you think of one in seven Americans don’t know where their next meal is coming from. For us, what’s even crazier is that stat doesn’t include things like edible by products. The material we work with is known in the industry as spent grain, because it’s gone through the manufacturing process of creating beer and the stuff that’s left over can’t be used to make more beer…But, there’s still a lot of nutritional value and a lot of potential in it and really what Regrained mission is is to be this ingredient platform that closes the loop between edible nutritious manufactured by product and the consumer...”
What is the relationship between you and the department of agriculture?
“The USDA, has a division within it called the ARS, Agricultural Research Service, and they exist among other things to partner with private sector companies to bring about technology for problems that they care about...In our case there is a technical challenge. One of the reasons why there hasn’t been other companies that have been doing exactly what we’re doing because processing this stuff is very energy intensive…”
Did you approach them or did they reach out to you?
“I, fortunately, was turned onto them by a very close friend because it’s about 23 clicks into their website before you can find contact information about this project. I reached out to them cold, I had a brief stint in sales, so I’m not afraid to cold call and I actually heard back from them within a few days…”
Did you have any mentors along your journey?
“Oh, many. Jordan and I, started this business when we were 20 or 21 so we were very green…”
How did you develop sustainable packaging?
“One thing that people are not aware of is that most consumer packaged goods companies are also in the business of creating trash and it’s a total shadow side of our economy that doesn’t get talked about that much...In the particular case of a snack bar that we create, the industry standard material is basically comprised of many layers of thin plastic...it doesn’t break down in nature it can’t be recycled and most of it goes out to landfills…”
What is the operation of Regrained?
“Starting with the team, the divide happens along the co-founder world. When Jordan and I started the business we tried to define our lanes...and our favorite framework is Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside. I’m Mr. Outside and that’s why you’re hearing my voice and Jordan is Mr. Inside… as soon as we hired people we backfilled roles…”
How does this new type of crowdfunding work and when can people check it out?
“Listeners can actually go now to check it out. You can get to it from our website or through the microventures portal which is a part of indiegogo.com. All the details are there… we’re not allowed to talk about too many details on the air but we can answer questions about that on the page itself…”
What have been one of the hardest parts about starting Regrained?
“One of the main things is knowing when we should be putting our resources into working in the business versus putting our resources into working on the business. For a while both, Jordan and myself were doing everything including production of our product… when you’re starting a business, especially one that started as a hobby and transitioned into a fulltime job, creating that separation is really hard…”
What would you say is one of your greatest fears?
“One of the big ones is we’re so extraverted in everything that we do...it’s definitely a little scary to think that there is a company or individual out there with a lot more resources than we have that are basically waiting for us to prove this market opportunity is sufficient for them…”
What has been one of the biggest mistakes that you’ve made?
“We’ve learned from a lot of these things but, the first thing that comes to mind is when we first came up with our product you could say that it tasted like a good idea...if we could have started with the product that we have today that would have been perhaps a different trajectory…”
What advice would you give someone who wanted to start a business?
“...Defining your values is really important. It’s really tempting to boil the ocean...There’s a number of things we wanted to focus on in the long terms like sourcing everything local and, of course we try to get everything local as much as we can… You have to decide which battle you’re best suited to fight and not try to do everything…”
Where do you see Regrained headed into the future?
“This year is a really big year for us. We’re going to be launching our products in a big way into the marketplace and we’ll actually have a savory snack coming out later in the year...five years out we want to see, in every aisle in the grocery store, products that feature our regrained flour in it. Ten years out I hope we are licensing our technology and our model all around the world…”
What’s the best part about running Regrained?
“Probably having a well defined and tremendous sense of purpose. Knowing that what we’re doing here can make a meaningful impact knowing we’re working on something very real…and also it’s a lot of fun...if it’s a big pow day, I’m going to take a ski day and that’s an investment on my mental health...”