ZERO2FIVE Food Industry Centre>Services>Brewery by-product valorisation - case study

Brewery by-product valorisation - case study

Background to the support 

Having secured funding from the Welsh Government’s Decarbonisation and COVID Challenge Fund, a Welsh brewery contacted the experts at ZERO2FIVE Food Industry Centre for new product development (NPD) & technical support to utilise spent grain, a by-product of their brewing process, to manufacture dog biscuit treats. 

During their brewing process, malted barley is mashed (heated with water) to extract the sugar, protein, and nutrients, leaving behind spent grain - called ‘spent’ as it’s been used. Despite being a by-product, spent grain is still totally edible. 

Whilst spent grain is often used by farmers for feed, it can be challenging for brewers to find a use for it, particularly in cities, and avoid sending the grain to landfill. So, the brewery turned to the NPD experts at ZERO2FIVE for help with turning their by-product into a valuable additional revenue stream. 

Spent grain

Support from ZERO2FIVE

Working with the technologists from ZERO2FIVE, a series of product development stages took place.

The first phase of the project was focused on the evaluation of the raw material. Due to the nature of the spent grain, ZERO2FIVE identified work was needed to ensure the ingredient was consistent, safe and could be made shelf stable by further processing.  

The raw material was evaluated in terms of composition, variability, storage, and the key attributes were reviewed - moisture, pH, particle size, colour, nutrient profile and microbiology - to ensure that it would be a consistent and safe ingredient for use in the production of dog biscuit treats. 

Suzie Phelan, New Product Development Technologist, at ZERO2FIVE explained: “Spent grain is a tricky ingredient to work with due to its water content, meaning that it can spoil quite quickly. Working with the company we established a safe way of processing the grain to inhibit microbial activity.”

When a safe, consistent and shelf stable ingredient was achieved, recipe development began.  

Processed spent grain

Recipe development took place with the client & the NPD technologist utilising the brewery’s initial draft recipe as a starting point. A recipe development day in ZERO2FIVE’s NPD kitchen saw recipe ideas and production processes trialled in collaboration with the company.

Once the recipe was finalised, support with water activity testing, organoleptic review and microbiological testing was provided to determine the product’s shelf life. 

ZERO2FIVE informed the brewery on best practice site design to incorporate the processing of a dog biscuit within the current business premises, encompassing consideration for Food Standards Agency approval (animal feed registration), preparation of product ingredients, assembly, baking, packing/labelling, and the storage of raw materials and finished products. Further support was also given with packaging formats, safe production methods and HACCP. 

Spent grain dog biscuits

Benefits of the support

With the support from ZERO2FIVE, the brewery successfully launched their dog biscuit treats, providing an additional revenue stream and saving hundreds of kilos of spent grain from going to waste each year. 

Suzie Phelan said: “ZERO2FIVE were able to give the company all the help they needed to set up a bakery from scratch and produce a safe product using their brewing by-product. If your company has a by-product which you’d like to develop into a new product, then we’d encourage you to get in touch to find out more about the support we can offer.”

To find out more about support with new product development and waste reduction and, get in touch with the team at ZERO2FIVE: 


Telephone: 02920 416306