Chicago, IL – At a pitch challenge hosted by Shark Tank’s Daymond John, a  gluten-free flour ingredient producer that uses a byproduct of soy milk production called okara, walked away with a $25,000 grand prize and the title IFTNEXT Future Food Disruptor of the Year.

Renewal Mill,which can also use by-products left over from other forms of food processing, reflected a trend in this year’s IFT18 – turning waste into nutrition. Co-founder Sumit Kadakia said the company’s patent-pending technology intends to venture into other areas of food waste to produce a variety of milled products.

With a goal to redefine mass market nutrition while eliminating the environmental and social consequences of the otherwise wasted by-products, Kadakia said the company also has a partnership to capture the split pea starch of Ripple Foods, which makes pea-based protein alternatives.

According to Kadakia, the okara flour offers a high-fiber flour that doesn’t change the taste, texture or appearance of the product it’s used in. Renewal Mill has a single-serve cookie pack in the convenience and corporate food channels to showcase the ingredient.

In five years, he told the judges, 70% of Renewal Mill’s sales are expected to come from ingredient sales. The startup expects to make $130,000 in revenue this year and be profitable in two years with about $2 to $4 million in revenue.

Kadakia said the company is looking for additional partners who can appreciate its lower price point from other alternative flours on the market.

Six entrepreneurs from a total of 65 global applicants competed in the event.C-fu Foods, which has developed a textured insect protein suitable for various food uses, was the audience vote winner, and received a $5,000 People’s Choice Award.

The pitch competition judges included Jennifer Bentz, SVP of R&D, innovation and insights for Tyson Foods; Jeff Grogg, founder and managing director of JPG Resources; J. Skyler Fernandes, cofounder and managing director of Venture University; John Ruff, IFT past president and former SVP of Kraft Foods; Nicole Schumacher, CMO, PRE Brands; and Natalie Shmulik, CEO of The Hatchery.

Other companies that participated in the pitch competition included several that convert waste into products:
  • RISE Products uses a patent-pending process to convert organic by-products into healthful food products, starting by turning spent barley from craft brewers into flour.
  • Re-Nuble uses an inexpensive, patent-pending process to transform food waste into chemical-free, organic fertilizer for both soil-based and hydroponic cultivation.
  • Inductive Intelligence has a packaging technology making it possible to safely and conveniently heat foods and drinks in disposable packaging using a wireless phone battery charging device.
  • Nebullam developed a vertical farming system powered by high-pressure aeroponics and artificial intelligence.