LOS ANGELES — The Wonderful Company (TWC), a global company dedicated to harvesting health and happiness around the world through its iconic consumer brands, announced the winners of its inaugural Wonderful Innovation Challenge, a platform designed to spur innovation across TWC and scale its sustainability efforts.
Through the Challenge, innovators were offered up to $1 million in funding and development resources for their economic and environmentally friendly pilot-ready solutions to transform the 50,000 tons of nutrient-dense pomegranate husks generated each year by juicing POM Wonderful pomegranates into a value-added resource that will have a positive impact on the planet. To engage the greatest number of innovator applicants and ensure the winning innovations found the highest and best use for the husks, TWC partnered with ReFED, the national nonprofit working to end food loss and waste across the food system, as the Strategic Advisor and Managing Partner for the challenge.
“As America’s largest farmer of tree crops and the nation’s second-biggest produce company, we recognize that sustainability is crucial for the well-being of our planet as well as our products,” said Steve Swartz, executive vice president of strategy and technology at The Wonderful Company. “We are delighted to support the two innovators who each embody our mission to continually strive for a more sustainable world by embracing bold, innovative ideas.”
Out of nearly 400 applicants from all over the globe and across the innovation spectrum with solutions ranging from sustainable textiles and bioplastics to alternative meat and bioenergy, two winners were selected by TWC, and each was awarded a portion of the $1 million allocation to develop their respective pilot programs:
- BCD Bioscience, a fast-paced, emerging biotechnology spinout from the University of California, Davis creating ingredients for food, ag, and biopharmaceutical applications. BCD Bioscience is creating the world’s first library of oligosaccharides with diverse natural structures and developing them into ingredients for better health. Together with POM Wonderful, they believe they can produce a new class of high-value soluble fiber ingredients that can be added to beverages to provide a source of dietary fiber with strong and differentiated prebiotic effects.
- Enagon, a manufacturer of powdering, pulverization, and drying equipment. Their proprietary process re-envisions the way food waste and food processing byproducts are dried and ground into powders. They are committed to working with companies worldwide to help reduce waste and create a greener footprint for humanity.
“The Wonderful Company is a great example of a business that understands the positive social, economic, and environmental potential of converting what others might simply consider manufacturing byproducts or food waste into other value-added products,” said Alexandria Coari, vice president of capital, innovation and engagement at ReFED. “By partnering on this Challenge with them, we were so excited to see the breakthrough, creative food waste solutions that came from the winners and all applicants. This Challenge underscores our collective commitment to growth that’s responsible to people and the planet.”
To date, The Wonderful Company has invested more than $1 billion in environmental sustainability and fighting climate change, including a $750 million pledge from co-owners Stewart and Lynda Resnick to Caltech in support of the school’s environmental sustainability research. For more information about the Wonderful Innovation Challenge and 2021 winners, please visit www.wonderfulinnovation.com.
About The Wonderful Company
The Wonderful Company is a privately held global company dedicated to harvesting health and happiness around the world. Its iconic brands include FIJI® Water, POM Wonderful®, Wonderful® Pistachios, Wonderful® Halos®, Wonderful® Seedless Lemons, Teleflora®, JUSTIN® Wines, JNSQ™ Wines, and Landmark® Wines.
The Wonderful Company’s connection to consumers has health at its heart and giving back in its DNA. To learn more about The Wonderful Company, its products, and its core values, visit www.wonderful.com, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. To view the current Corporate Social Responsibility report, visit www.wonderful.com/csr.
ReFED is a national nonprofit working to end food loss and waste across the food system by advancing data-driven solutions to the problem. ReFED leverages data and insights to highlight supply chain inefficiencies and economic opportunities; mobilizes and connects people to take targeted action; and catalyzes capital to spur innovation and scale high-impact initiatives. ReFED’s goal is a sustainable, resilient, and inclusive food system that optimizes environmental resources, minimizes climate impacts, and makes the best use of the food we grow. For more information, visit www.refed.com.