Can you make beer from leftover bread? CRUST Group shows the way

12 Oct 2021

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preethiness

Crust Photo: CRUST Group

CRUST Group is on a mission to put unsold, stale bread to good use by making beers.

Seeing opportunity in the large amounts of unsold bread thrown out daily, Travin Singh, CEO and founder of CRUST Group, dabbled in his love for brewing and improved recipes to create beers from bread waste. The company has wonderful ambitions to reduce global food waste by one percent by 2030.

After spending six years in the Singapore Navy and working as a financial consultant, Travin Singh started Crust Group to create a more circular economy. We spoke to him about his brand and mission.

Travin Singh Travin Singh, Founder & CEO of CRUST Group.

What’s the inspiration behind starting a brand like CRUST Group?

Back in 2018, I knew I wanted to start a business, but I did not want to just start a company with the sole purpose of earning money. I wanted to build a value-based company that gained profit but was mostly about finding solutions; kind of a reference for how businesses would be done in the future.

I wanted to show people that money is a by-product of doing the right things in the right way. I’d been home brewing beers for a while and did a lot of research into the origins of beer. I learned that the preservation of bread is one of the oldest forms of making beer. That was my eureka moment.

I also grew up with the mentality to not waste food. Since young, my mum would cook for us and if we didn’t finish the food on the day itself, she would incorporate it into something new the next day. That is the ideology in terms of starting CRUST Group, creating a value-based company: developing value-based products that reduce food waste.

How many products do you offer?

Currently, we have three flagship beers under our CRUST Brand: Toasted Lager, Breaking

Bread Ale, I Knead An Easy IPA

We also have collaboration beers that are co-branded with the partners we worked with:

Bakery’s surplus baguettes

We are currently working on our second brand CROP and will be launching towards the end of the year. CROP which is our line of functional and health-focused non-alcoholic beverages contains immunity-boosting probiotics. The drinks will be made from fruit and vegetable waste like fruit peels, seeds and rinds.

Crust Photo: CRUST Group

How do you collaborate with other businesses to reduce food waste?

We work with businesses to get their food waste and loss and create a new product of value which they can use to earn additional revenue. Using upcycled ingredients also creates a sustainability story for businesses and consumers, enabling consumers to make a difference with each purchase.

How do you cater to the local taste and palette with your range of products?

The surplus ingredients are all sourced and produced locally. We do R&D based on the surplus ingredients we get from local partners to formulate recipes based on the local taste and palette. We have a range of products each suited to different types of consumers.

What are the current challenges for your business? How do you overcome them?

Like many other businesses, we are also affected by Covid-19. Many restaurants and bars were badly hit and it was a challenge for us to distribute our products into these places. But it was only due to Covid that we started our web store! Since then, we have expanded into more online distribution channels and stores. Despite Covid-19 disrupting many of the company’s plans, what worked for us is that we did not succumb to these difficulties and obstacles.

We kept an open mind and grabbed hold of any opportunities that came. It was also during Covid that we realised we can do so much more than just bread and beer, with the same ideology of saving food waste and loss in mind, and took the bold decision to pivot from a brewing company into a food tech company.

Tell us about the impact your brand and your initiatives have created on the food ecosystem and the environment.

Based on a belief in a more circular economy, CRUST Group is a food tech startup that valorizes food waste and loss into beverages for our partners. Surplus ingredients like bread and fruit peels are reincarnated into products via two brands – CRUST, a line of sustainable craft beers and CROP, a line of health-focused and functional non-alcoholic beverages. Till date, our company has saved 1200kg of food waste and loss and reduced 2045kg of CO2 emissions. Our goal is to reduce global food waste by one percent by 2030.

What has the response been from the retailers and the public?

When we first launched, I think people didn’t totally understand what we were doing. They confused food waste and food loss and thought that we were taking food that had been consumed or used by others and turning it into beer. Actually, we were taking surplus bread that hadn’t been used or sold. Now that we are two years old, more people gradually understand what we are doing and perceptions have changed.

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@elenapera profile image
elenapera1 YEAR AGO
Me encanta que hayan compañías en búsqueda de formas de consumo sustentables y que apoyen la economía circular. Sería bueno saber si hay manera de hacer cerveza en casa con el pan duro ya que con esa idea entré al artículo por el título que presenta. Ojalá pueda probar esta cerveza pronto 😊
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