Tyson Innovation Lab, Tyson Foods’ team tasked with bringing new consumer products to market in just six months, launched its first brand, called ¡Yappah! on the Indiegogo crowd-funding platform in May followed by a 90-day pilot at one Chicago-based supermarket in July. The brand name is inspired by a tradition in the South American Andes called “yapa,” which refers to the little something extra a merchant gives to a valued customer so that nothing gets wasted.
“The ¡Yappah! brand mission is unique, important and far-reaching,” says Rizal Hamdallah, head of Tyson Innovation Lab. “The brand was created to inspire people and partners to rethink their relationship to food and how it impacts society. Through this launch, we intend to address global food challenges such as food waste.”
Given the scale of the food waste problem, Tyson Innovation Lab sought partnerships with like-minded food companies. Tyson Foods, Springdale, Ark., provides upcycled chicken breast trim that is still full of flavor and protein and combines it with either rescued vegetable puree from juicing or rescued Molson Coors spent grain from beer brewing to create the new line.
“We could not have developed the Protein Crisps without the enthusiastic collaboration of partners like Molson Coors,” Hamdallah says. “We will continue to seek out other great partners, large and small, who have resources and goals that complement our own.”
"This collaboration is consistent with our sustainable brewing priorities to address waste,” says David Durkee, senior director of R&D and innovation for The Molson Coors Brewing Co., Denver, Colo. “There is great potential to upcycle our spent grains into amazing products, and this is a key area of development for our innovation team."
The ¡Yappah! brand is designed to be an umbrella under which future products and product categories will be launched that help address major social and sustainability challenges related to food.
“With the Protein Crisps, we are taking ‘forgotten’ ingredients and crafting them into a delicious protein snack,” adds Hamdallah. “For the ¡Yappah! brand, sustainability is not an add-on, it’s our DNA. Fighting food waste is just the beginning.”
In January, Tyson Innovation Lab was challenged to re-think the culinary possibilities for ingredients that are typically left unused during food production, often becoming food waste.
“We wanted to be ingredient-driven in order to create a flavorful snack that people would absolutely love,” says Kang Kuan, executive chef at Tyson Innovation Lab. “I was thrilled by the opportunity to source ‘forgotten’ ingredients and compose them into something more flavor nuanced and protein-filled than typical snack foods. People might not realize that vegetable pulp left behind during juicing is arguably better and richer tasting than the juice itself, and spent grain is surprisingly delicious. So, we had these amazing flavors to work with. The result is a crispy snack that comes in four culinary-driven flavors that will appeal to all food lovers.”
The Protein Crisps come in Chicken Carrot (curry flavored) and Chicken Celery (Mojo flavored), both from rescued veggie puree, and Chicken IPA White Cheddar and Chicken Shandy Beer Flavored (from rescued spent grain).
“We think a chef-composed snack is a groundbreaking idea, but are cognizant that products fighting food waste are in their nascent stages,” says Santiago Proaño, brand lead, Tyson Innovation Lab. “Indiegogo is a great channel for testing since consumers on the platform are known for being early adopters of new-to-the-world ideas and products. We want to connect directly with this enthusiastic community that cares about creating better food. Their reaction to the product and their engagement with us will help us get ready for what we hope will be a much broader rollout.”