Take Two Foods’ Aseptic Packaging Gives “Upcycled” Barley New Life

Sarah Pool and Matt Olsofsky, co-founders of Take Two Foods, LLC launched their company commercially in March 2020, but the genesis of the company began much earlier, in 2016. At the time, Olsofsky was Global Director of Logistics for brewer Anheuser-Busch and Pool was a Global Director at ZX Ventures, the innovation arm of Anheuser-Busch parent AB InBev. The beverage giant launched ZX Ventures to develop ways to diversify the brewer’s markets and to foster and support innovative entrepreneurs who would take new products into those markets. That support continues today and includes providing access to AB InBev’s subject matter experts worldwide and investing in many of the participating entrepreneurs’ startup companies.To develop ways to upcycle the brewers’ spent barley remaining after the brewing process, ZX contacted Pool, known on the West Coast for her award-winning work to commercialize vegan and plant-based foods, to lead the effort. The primary goal of the project was to find a practical way to reintroduce the still-nutritious spent barley into the food chain. Once Pool had put forward the idea for barleymilk, she, Olsofsky, and other ZX experts spent almost four years developing and refining the product chemistry and production technology that would create a barleymilk of optimum consistency and flavor that would appeal to consumers seeking healthy, plant-based alternative products. Once the formulas for the four initial flavors and the production technology were in place, the operation was re-launched as a new standalone company, Take Two Foods. Anheuser-Busch remains an investor in the company, as well as its sole supplier of spent barley.

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