A collaborative initiative to create food ingredients from discarded skins, stems and pits from wine grapes has netted a $1,984,274 grant from the Canadian Food Innovation Network (CFIN).
The businesses involved include Summerland’s Crush Dynamics Inc., Vancouver’s Purdys Chocolatier and Abbotsford’s Ecovatec Solutions Inc.
Crush Dynamics CEO Kirk Moir told BIV that his business is the one that would take the discarded material and convert it into usable food ingredients while food manufacturers Purdys and Evovatec would be the customers who would buy the ingredients to integrate into their products.
“We convert it into two product lines,” he said. “One we call a puree, or a paste, and we also have a powder ingredient.”
The food ingredient is desirable because its use in chocolate can enable the chocolate maker to use less sugar, Moir explained. He added that when the ingredient is included in pasta sauces and some other products, it can reduce the amount of salt required in the recipe.
The result is that both Purdys, which makes chocolate, and Evovatec, which makes sauces, can market their products as either being low in sugar or low in salt.
They can also appeal to consumers who want to reduce food waste by highlighting how one of the ingredients in the chocolates and sauces was made from material that would otherwise go to waste.
Moir calls this process “upcycling.”
He cofounded his company in 2020, and last year his venture, which employs 15 workers, generated tens of thousands of dollars in revenue.
Sales have increased this year to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to Moir, and he said he expects revenue next year to be in the “millions.”
He is hiring staff in various areas of the business, but mostly in production, and research and development, he said.
“This grant is absolutely fundamental,” said Moir, who divides his time between Vancouver and Summerland. “This is going to enable us to get to the next level.”
Since launching in 2021, CFIN has received more than 351 funding applications from innovative companies across Canada, and it has approved $16.8 million in funding to 51 projects.