Women-driven partnership spearheads ‘food system renaissance’ with upcycled vegan cookies

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Renewal Mill's Vegan Salted Peanut Butter Cookies made with upcycled ingredients. Pic: Renewal Mill
Renewal Mill's Vegan Salted Peanut Butter Cookies made with upcycled ingredients. Pic: Renewal Mill

Related tags Renewal Mill Miyoko's Creamery upcycled snacks Cookies climate friendly vegan okara Gluten-free

Two Californian women-owned companies have joined forces to prove that the next generation of plant-based foods can put the climate change fight back into the hands of consumers.

Debuting at Natural Product Expo West (9-12 March), Renewal Mill’s Salted Peanut Butter Cookies are made with upcycled Miyoko’s Creamery European Style Cultured Vegan Butter and Renewal Mill’s flagship okara flour, a gluten-free flour made from pulp leftover from soymilk production.

True to its mission to reduce food waste and create a circular food economy, Renewal worked with Miyoko to reuse that portion of vegan butter left in its churning equipment at the end of production.

Known for its cultured flavour, the plant-based butter is crafted to melt, brown, spread and bake exactly like traditional dairy butter. Miyoko’s butter is also lactose-free, palm oil-free, gluten-free, non-GMO, kosher and certified USDA Organic.

Okara flour is a high-fibre, gluten-free flour that has been crafted by upcycling the soybean pulp generated during soymilk production. The organic flour is a versatile superfood that provides superior nutrition, a neutral taste and can be used on its own or in combination with other flours.

The cookies were handcrafted by James Beard Award-winning chef and Renewal Mill’s product developer, Alice Medrich, with a remit to deliver on all fronts, including taste, texture, and, of course, environmental impact.

Ambassadors of plant-based

The affiliation is born out of a shared vision of sustainability.

Renewal Mill was one of the first US bakery companies to convert byproducts into usable ingredients. The women-owned and operated Oakland company fights climate change and global food loss by upcycling byproducts from food manufacturing, converting them into superfood ingredients and premium, plant-based pantry staples. It started with the byproducts of plant-based milk to create it flagship okara flour range and ready-to-eat (RTE) soft baked cookies and artisan ‘just add oil and water’ baking mixes.

Petaluma-based Miyoko’s Creamery – founded by activist, chef and pioneer Miyoko Schinner in 2014 – is widely recognised as a ‘leading voice in the future of plant dairy’, evolving the ancient art of fermentation to craft artisan dairy cheeses and butters with plant milks. Miyoko’s offers a selection of more than 25 plant milk cheeses and butters, available in more than 20,000 retailers across the US, including Whole Foods, Target, Trader Joe's and Walmart, as well as home delivery services like Amazon Fresh.

Consumers can make a difference

“According to Project Drawdown, a leading climate change research organisation, reducing food waste and eating a more plant-rich diet are two of the top three things we can do to stay below 2 degrees of global climate warming,”​ said Caroline Cotto, Renewal Mill’s cofounder.

“Creating artisan cookies made with Renewal Mill’s upcycled ingredients and Miyoko’s Creamery’s plant milk butter is a delicious way to help achieve both of these goals and to put power back into the hands of consumers to make a difference.”  

Jennifer Kaplan, director of Sustainability at Miyoko’s Creamery, added, “A vegan, non-GMO, gluten-free, upcycled soft-baked cookie that tackles food waste is a marker of a food system renaissance.

“What a dream come true to have a partner like Renewal Mill, who is revolutionising the industry by finding delicious homes for rescued ingredients like our end-of-run butter. We can't wait for everyone to try our collaborative peanut butter cookie and taste how great doing good can be.”

Renewal Mill and Miyoko’s Creamery plan to expand their partnership with the launch of two additional soft-baked, ready-to-eat cookie variants – Chocolate Chip and Snickerdoodle – later this spring.

Renewal Mill’s Vegan Salted Peanut Butter Cookies are currently available online from the company in packs of 2 cookies for $3.50.