Webinar: "Adding Nutritional Value Through Upcycling: A Tale of Protein and Fiber"

In this webinar, Beate Lloyd, President of AgriFiber, and Turner Wyatt, CEO of Upcycled Food Association, set the stage by discussing upcycling agricultural residues as an important contribution to reducing food waste, meeting the growing needs of consumers, and lowering food production's impact on the environment.

Panelists Stuart Phillips, Ph.D., FACSM, Professor of Kinesiology at McMaster University and Edward Deehan, Ph.D., R.D., Senior R&D and SRA Scientist at AgriFiber, discuss the latest findings and significance of utilizing upcycled protein and fiber ingredients in today’s food and beverage industry.

Protein and fiber created from upcycled agricultural residues work in tandem to provide numerous functional and health benefits with a reduced impact on the environment. With the onset of modern technology, food and nutrition innovation, and market readiness,  the quality of these ingredients is enhanced. This helps consumers to more easily reach recommended levels of protein and fiber while making products with these ingredients more marketable.

Turner Wyatt, CEO of Upcycled Food Association, kicks off the webinar by declaring the value of utilizing upcycled ingredients:  

  • There are 1 billion tons of food waste per year, worth around $1 trillion.
  • Research shows that around 80% of consumers want to buy upcycled food products.
  • Companies can work together to align on messaging upcycled products, which can effectively educate consumers about the reduced environmental impact of them. This can ultimately make products labeled as “upcycled” more marketable.

In his segment, Dr. Phillips discusses the need for higher quality proteins in food products, which can be achieved successfully through upcycled ingredients:

  • Muscle protein synthesis (MPS) allows for changes in muscle mass, and the main driver for MPS is the amino acid known as leucine.
  • Upcycled, isolated plant-based protein can be as effective as animal-based protein for MPS when it is combined with certain amino acids, such as leucine, or when sufficient protein levels are consumed.
  • Technology is allowing plant based proteins to be isolated that are found to be comparable to animal protein and support MPS.
  • New evidence suggests that there are prebiotic effects of insoluble dietary fiber that promote a better gut microbiome environment to allow for the production of essential amino acids in animals fed low protein quality diets.

Dr. Deehan’s segment covers the importance of plant fiber structures that can be preserved using novel technological extraction and purification methods, yielding upcycled isolated dietary fiber. This fiber is crucial for whole body health and have proven functional benefits in food production:

  • Most people do not consume the recommended levels of dietary fiber and are missing out on the necessary health benefits that it provides. The addition of isolated fibers from upcycled ingredients can help lessen this “Fiber Gap.”
  • Improved technology enables us to extract fiber from what would otherwise be food “waste,” allowing isolated fibers to be manufactured at scale. This reduces costs and can act as a replacement for less desirable isolated or synthetic fibers, which adds to clean label solutions and customer-valued benefits.
  • AgriFiber offers Complete Fibers, which are customizable for the food application and make next-generation prebiotics available. Specifically, AgriFiber’s soluble corn bran fiber, AgriFiber BFG, offers targeted prebiotic benefits for gut health; the complexity of its structure also allows for improved GI tolerance and fermentation along the GI tract.  
  • Bundling AgriFiber’s upcycled dietary fiber with protein may promote synergistic effects to health and product functionality.


Stuart Phillips, Ph.D., FACSM, FCAHS

Professor and Canada Research Chair – Dept. of Kinesiology, McMaster University

Dr. Phillips is a Professor in the Department of Kinesiology and a member of the School of Medicine at McMaster University. He is Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Skeletal Muscle Health, as well as a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

Edward Deehan, Ph.D., R.D.

Senior R&D and SRA Scientist, AgriFiber

Dr. Deehan leads our late-stage R&D, Nutrition and Regulatory compliance programs. He brings expertise in fiber-centric product development plus a deep understanding of the gut microbiome and insights to how nutrition can be leveraged to enhance health and wellness.