For centuries, brewers have used yeast to produce one of the world’s most popular beverages. After the fermentation process, the yeast cells become inactive and can no longer be utilized. Each day, approximately ten thousand tons of spent brewer’s yeast are produced worldwide as a by-product of the beer brewing process. Currently, this by-product is mostly used as animal feed or goes to waste. With the global population on track to reach 10 billion people by 2050, it is estimated that we will need to produce 265 million tons of additional proteins worldwide. Industrial livestock farming currently accounts for 14.5% of the world’s anthropogenic GHG emissions. To address the protein gap there is thus a need to find alternatives that are affordable, sustainable and meet the health requirements of the growing population.
Yeastup has developed an innovative and patent-pending process that upcycles the yeast by-products from the brewing industry. Brewer’s spent yeast contains over 40% high-quality proteins and 30% prebiotic fibers, making it suitable for human consumption thanks to its biological value resp. functional properties. The company aims to improve human health and well-being through sustainable yeast upcycling while advocating for a circular economy and a healthier environment. Yeastup’s commercial products, Yeastin® and UpFiber®, have the potential for numerous applications in the food and cosmetic industries, including protein enrichment, meat and dairy alternatives, pet food supplements, and as active ingredients in cosmetic products. Together with society’s evolving eating consciousness, these elements result in sustainable and innovative food production, better health, and enhanced food security.
The impact of Yeastup is manifold: they contribute to efficient and sustainable food production and security, while at the same time improving human health by providing high-quality proteins. Their solution addresses the issue of providing the growing population with the quality and quantity of protein needed. By giving brewer’s spent yeast a second life, Yeastup is reducing overall waste produced by the beer production and contributing to a circular zero-carbon economy. Their production line guarantees the affordability of their products, making it accessible for producers to include Yeastup’s proteins in their end consumer products.
Yeastup is addressing through their solution 6 SDGs in total: SDG 2: Zero Hunger, SDG 3: Good Health and Wellbeing, SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation, SDG 9: Industry Innovation and Infrastructure, SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production, and lastly, SDG 13: Climate Action.
You can read more about Yeastup and what the UBS Award for Social Innovation meant for them on Sustainable Switzerland.