We work with small-to-medium businesses to re-imagine food waste in order to reduce their expenses and generate new revenue. As well, diverting organic waste from landfills helps to reduce contributions to climate change.
The first product we developed was Beer Bread, a delicious artisan sourdough bread made in Toronto by Drake Commissary using spent grains from Henderson’s Brewery. (Have you read our Beer Bread reviews yet? BlogTO considers it the latest bread craze!)
While the bread doesn’t use a lot of spent grains, it’s a great conversation starter for consumers around the topic of food waste. End consumers have an alternative product that allows them to vote with their wallet for the change they want to see in the world.
We took surplus bread that could not be donated and made it into beer! Watch/ read all about the Sourdough Indian Pale Ale
Dihan Chandra, Managing Director
What inspired you to start this business?
The initial spark was exploring whether my dog’s poo could be used to generate energy to power my house instead of having to pick it up. As it turns out, the answer is no–poo doesn’t produce enough energy. But I became fascinated with finding value in what other people consider waste.
A short while later, I had the privilege of working on a funding application in Sri Lanka that was a response to a United Nations call for practical solutions to deal with plastic ocean pollution. The range of creative solutions that were proposed, including some that made revenue from plastic pollution, was truly inspiring. It cemented my belief that reasonable, practical solutions to reducing waste while generating profits are within our reach.
Then, one night at my local pub talking to the brewery manager, I asked the question we’ve all been too shy to ask: What happens to all the grain used to make beer?
After learning that most spent grain, especially from smaller breweries, ends up in landfills, the Spent Goods Company was born.
What is your background?
In 2006, I started my first social enterprise, Organic Lifestyle, an ecommerce site based on my interest in offering alternative solutions to everyday toxin exposure. It has been profitable for the past 7 years.
Prior to that, I spent 18 years working as an IT Solutions Architect at IBM, where I project-managed teams, created global offerings, managed C-suite stakeholders to achieve buy-in, and met deliverables within specific timeframes.
Spent Goods Accomplishments
- Started to formalize ideas around Spent Goods
- Initiated conversations with Henderson’s Brewery based on their interest to transform their spent grains into value
- Accepted into CSI’s Climate Ventures accelerator
- Initated partnership with Drake Commissary (bakery) based on their interest to promote and use locally sourced grains
- Worked with Marc Van Beusekom, co-Founder of St John’s Bakery, to establish recipes and bread samples
- First media mention of the Beer Bread sour by BlogTO during first pop-up at Henderson’s Brewery.
- Initiated conversations with second bakery to make Toasted beer bread
- Sale of organic sourdough Beer Bread via CSI Cafe
- Submitted Walmart Food waste RFP proposing Bread -> Beer, partnering with Recycling Council of Ontario
- Participated in our first Farmer’s Market @ Junction!
- Initiated conversations with Building Roots
- First Sale of Toasted Beer bread via Moss Park Shipping Container Grocery Store
- Recipient of Carrot Cache grant which supports small projects in Ontario working toward a sustainable and just regional food system
- Bread->Beer and Beer Crisps launch – Sourdough IPA event
- Panelist at Zero Waste Conference, Toronto discussing Local Voluntary Approaches to Food Waste Reduction Panel
- Sale of organic sourdough Beer Bread via retail: Annex based Karma Coop
- Sale of organic sourdough Beer Bread via retail: Kensington based 4 Life Naturals
- Hired part time help to focus on business development
I’m very grateful to the Toronto Environmental Alliance, Marc Van Beusekom, Andrew Simpson, Centre for Social Innovation, Organic Council of Ontario, Henderson Brewery Co and Drake Commissary for their guidance and support.
- Featured in NOW Magazine’s as food startup working on food waste
- Accepted into Ryerson Social Venture Zone
- Sale of organic sourdough Beer Bread via retail: Annex based Fiesta Farms. Read Fiesta Farm’s take on Spent Goods
- Established partnership with Feedback App to ensure no Spent Goods ends up as food waste! They offer consumers favourable pricing to reduce food waste
- Established partnership with Terus who provides consulting services to reduce waste and save money within the hospitality industry
- Ended retail relationship with 4Lifenaturals in Kensington Market
- Radio interview on CIUT FM by Green Majority to discuss policy solutions and cultural change. Featured along side climate innovators from Project Neutral, Climate Ventures, Point A, Feedback, The Spent Goods Company, Fresh Fashion Library, and Unwrapit.
- Won 2nd prize money as part of CSI’s Climate Venture pitch competition!
- Sale of organic sourdough, Butter Beer Crisps and Toasted Bread in Junction based grocer – Sweet Potato
- Sale of organic sourdough and Butter Beer Crisps to grocer and zerowaste advocate – Unboxed Market
- Featured in CBC Article: Can these 3 Canadian innovations help save the world? by Clifton Mark
- Sale of organic sourdough Beer Bread at The Big Carrot’s Danforth location
- Pop up markets at Wychwood Barns, WeWork (1 University) and Allied Properties (134 Peter Street)