Agrasys, the company behind sustainable cereal Tritordeum, is to receive a PepsiCo grant worth €20,000 to help develop its business.

The Spanish start-up has been named as one of 10 businesses selected for the PepsiCo Nutrition Greenhouse 2018 programme, which recognises and supports the next generation of food and beverage entrepreneurs.

The sustainable Mediterranean cereal, a combination of durum wheat (Triticum) and wild barley Hordeum Chilense), is said to contain more digestible gluten, high levels of dietary fibre and 10 times more lutein – an antioxidant related to eye health that protects the retina from UV rays and the ageing effects – than conventional wheat.

It can be used as an ingredient in flour, bread, biscuits, and pizza, while products made from Tritordeum are sold in Spain, Italy, France, Switzerland, Turkey, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and The Netherlands. The cereal became available to the UK market last year.

“Being among the 10 finalists – out of 174 candidates – means great recognition for us within the food and beverage industry, regarding nutrition, wellness and health aspects,” said Verónica Guerra, Agrasys’ head of marketing and communication.

“Tritordeum’s potential is huge, but we need to accelerate its growth. We will certainly take full advantage of this opportunity that PepsiCo gives us to continue the expansion of our cereal in Europe.”

The cereal is also said to have a lower environmental footprint due to its robust nature – it adapts well to climate change, drought and high temperatures – and has a good resistance to certain diseases.

Crops are grown in Spain, Italy and southern France and 70% of production comes from local farmers with ecological certification, Agrasys said.

In addition to the funding, the Spanish business will also receive tuition from PepsiCo experts, including face-to-face workshops and virtual training.

Other finalists in the Nutrition Greenhouse programme include Israel’s The Sprouted Grain Company, which specialises in the preparation of soaked and sprouted grains, legumes, and flours made from organic whole grains; and A1C Foods, makers of low-carbohydrate food products, including bread which uses a formula designed to lower the glycaemic index without the use of artificial sweeteners. 

“I’m delighted to welcome all 10 of these exciting businesses to our programme,” said David Schwartz, senior director of innovation for PepsiCo Europe & Sub-Saharan Africa, and leader of the programme.

“The Nutrition Greenhouse incubator is an important initiative for PepsiCo, as we continue to build on our 20-plus year legacy of anticipating and adapting to changes in the way consumers view nutrition and health and wellness. Together with the entire Greenhouse team, we’re confident we can drive another successful year of sustainable growth for 10 new breakthrough brands, harnessing the power of convenient, nutritious products in the process.”