In California, food tech firm Planetarians is converting spent brewers’ yeast sourced from AB InBev—maker of popular beer brands like Budweiser and Stella Artois—into vegan ribs and other meat alternatives.
The idea was something of a win-win for both parties, according to Planetarians, which first approached InBev in 2021, because spent yeast can be expensive to dispose of. “[Y]ou cannot dump it into the sewage because it’s bioactive but that yeast is a source of fermented protein,” Planetarian founder Aleh Manchuliantsau tells VegNews. “That yeast is what we needed.”
Manchuliantsau says using the brewing byproduct helps the company avoid the use of additives to achieve texture and flavor that can end up comprising 80% of the final cost of vegan meat.
InBev was similarly enthusiastic about the prospect, to the point of investing in Planetarian after the approach. “Using their money, we built our facility and that is where we produce our ribs,” Manchuliantsau said. “Now they can say that all their beers are sustainable. It’s a zero-waste process.”