EverGrain Ingredients, a barley protein and fiber solutions company, recently received certification from the Upcycled Food Association (UFA) for its entire portfolio of products. The first-of-its-kind certification, which launched last year, allows food and beverage manufacturers that use upcycled ingredients to place the claim on their packaging.
EverGrain’s UFA Certification
EverGrain launched last year with one simple strategy: to utilize barley to its full potential. After five years of research and development, the brand found a way to transform saved grain from brewing into nutrient-rich, barley-based proteins and fibers that have a variety of applications in the food and beverage industry.
Now, EverGrain’s EverPro Protein Isolate and Protein and Fiber Concentrates have been certified by the UFA, meaning its products are created with the most sustainable ingredients and practices. In terms of its nutritional profile, EverPro is high in bioavailable protein, low in carbohydrates, contains just half a gram of sugar per 100 grams and is free from cholesterol, dairy and soy.
Backed by Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewing company, EverGrain makes use of some 1.4 million metric tons of leftover or spent barley. The brand saw a unique opportunity to extract the excess barley to meet the global demand for sustainable, plant-based products. The UFA certification comes as consumers begin actively seeking out products that carry the certification as a way to cut down on global food waste with their food and beverage purchases.
EverGrain ingredients are currently available in products such as Take Two, a plant-based barley milk line. Although it launched before EverGrain became an official ingredients company, Take Two became the world’s first commercially available barley milk when it was introduced into grocery stores, coffee shops and cafes across the Pacific Northwest and Los Angeles in June 2020.
However, it is not the first company to make use of barley in a plant-based beverage. In April 2020, UK-based Bright Barley launched a line of barley-based vegan shakes in three flavors: Chocolate, Coffee and Salted Caramel. The brand began with a mission to “Bring Back Barley” since it’s the world’s fourth largest crop and remains underutilized in Western food and drink culture.
Aside from its sustainable qualities, barley milk boasts flavor and performance comparable to dairy milk and contains complete protein, fiber, calcium, good fats and has 50 percent less sugar than other flavored plant-based milks. Not to mention, barley is an ancient grain and superfood with several health benefits, including protecting cardiovascular health, controlling blood sugar and reducing the risk of gallstones.
As a food grain, natural sweetener and an ingredient for brewing beer and making other alcoholic beverages, barley’s applications in the food and beverage industry continue to expand. Both Bright Barley and EverGrain are tapping into the massive global barley market, which is estimated to reach $24.7 billion by 2027 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of two percent, according to Research and Markets.
While it may not rival beer as the best use for barley yet, barley milk and other barley-based food and beverages are likely to grow in popularity in the coming years given the crop’s adaptability, nutritional benefits and sustainable qualities.