UK brewer Seven Brothers has partnered with Kellogg's to use some of its less-than-perfect cereals.
Beer can be made from so many things; ancient grains, wastewater, stale bread, even yeast brought up from a 133-year-old shipwreck are just a few of the unusual ingredients we've written about on TreeHugger. Now another interesting ingredient can be added to that list – surplus breakfast cereal that hasn't passed Kellogg's quality control.
Seven Brothers is a family-owned craft brewery in Manchester, England, that has partnered with the cereal giant's local production facility to give new life to slightly flawed batches of Rice Krispies, Coco Pops, and Corn Flakes. The cereal, which is described by Kellogg's social responsibility manager Kate Price as "just slightly overcooked or a bit too big or a bit too small," is added to the grain mix that is combined with hot water at the start of the brewing process. The result is three unusual and delicious beers – a dark stout that reflects its Coco Pops origins, a pale ale from Rice Krispies, and a mellow IPA made from Corn Flakes. A local pub manager says the brews are popular and sell out quickly.
Breakfast cereal has been used by other brewers, usually to impart an unique taste or for the novelty factor, but this is the first time that surplus and imperfect cereal has been used for the purpose of mitigating food waste. The New York Times reports that Kellogg's Manchester facility sends 5,000 pounds of wasted flakes a year to local farmers to mix into livestock feed, but it is looking for alternative destinations as well, Seven Brothers being one of them and possibly a local bakery too. Said Kellogg's employee Price, "You can use Corn Flakes for all sorts of different things, whether it’s the coating on chicken or cheesecake bases."
Toast Pale Ale is another brewery that has focused on repurposing food waste, using the heel ends of loaves that cannot be used in commercial sandwich shops. Its sales manager Janet Viader spoke to the Times about repurposing food waste:
"It’s the old coming back to the new. The idea that we’re taking what has already been baked and would otherwise go to waste — it’s really going back to the roots of beer and the original beer recipe."
Seven Brothers' beer is unfortunately not yet available in North America, but I predict we'll be seeing it, or at least something similar, before long. As people become more aware of the extent of the food waste crisis (an estimated one-third of food grown for human consumption goes to waste, according to the United Nations), they become more creative in figuring out ways to use ingredients. I think this is just the start of something huge.