Dipika Matthias

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Dipika Matthias
Coffee Flour

Nutritionally dense flour made from discarded coffee cherry pulp and skin.

THE PROBLEM

Coffee FlourTM addresses a long-standing, fundamental environmental issue associated with coffee pulp waste, while also offering a means of economic development and improved nutrition in coffee growing communities. Through the coffee milling process, an estimated 21 billion kilograms of coffee pulp waste is generated annually. The pulp is sometimes composted, but more often dumped in landfills, threatening fragile ecosystems. Recent data from the USDA indicates that each pound of decomposing food in landfills emits .36kg of CO2e. If applied to pulp waste, an estimated 16 M MTs of CO2e, or .2% of the world’s carbon emissions, would be attributable to coffee pulp waste alone. Mycotoxins from the pulp also leach into groundwater and streams, while also providing a breeding ground for mosquitos and other insects. In addition to the environmental issues, coffee farms and mills incur costs associated with clearing pulp waste from their land. When left to rot, productive land is lost.

THE INNOVATION

Coffee Flour is a social enterprise operating within the waste reuse movement, taking the by-product of coffee milling operations, specifically the pulp and skin of the discarded coffee cherry, and turning it into a nutritionally dense flour that is now being incorporated into the products of food and beverage companies around the world. Coffee Flour’s product and business model reduces the environmental damage created through the excess build-up of pulp on coffee farms, generates economic value to smallholder farmers and their communities, and can improve nutrition across the 60+ coffee-growing countries globally.

STAGE OF INNOVATION: Growth/Expansion

THE VISION

Based on the total global volume of coffee beans that are processed today, the potential market for Coffee Flour is about 3 billion kilograms -- about equal to that of the cocoa market. Thus, Coffee Flour, which leverages the enormous global infrastructure for coffee, represents a significant force for both business and social good. Our vision is to create a global market for Coffee Flour. On the supply side, we have strategically partnered with ECOM and Mercon, two of the world’s largest coffee traders to supply dried pulp from their global footprint of coffee mills and partners. In the initial two years, Coffee Flour focused on building a reliable supply chain across 14 mills in 8 counties. We believe that producing dried pulp across a range of countries both diversifies the risks associated with production in any one geography while also maximizing global impact of the technology. On the demand side, we have initially focused on the deployment of Coffee Flour within food & beverage markets in the U.S., Europe and Japan. We will soon begin cultivating markets in origin countries, starting with Brazil. In the long run, Coffee Flour aims to change the practices of players in the coffee value chain, enabling them to take care of their waste, build resilience amongst the smallholder farmers upon which they so critically depend, and bring a new source of nutrition to the world.

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