Tyson Innovation Lab, the Tyson Foods Inc. team tasked with bringing new consumer products to market in just six months, is launching “¡Yappah!,” its first brand. The line of snacks, made from “rescued” ingredients, debuted May 31 with a campaign on Indiegogo, a crowd-funding platform.
¡Yappah! “challenges consumers to re-think snacks for good,” says Tyson. “The brand name was 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,” said 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.”
Tyson partners with Molson Coors, others on the line
Given the scale of the food waste problem, Tyson Innovation Lab sought partnerships with like-minded food companies in developing its new snacks. The first product under the ¡Yappah! brand, Protein Crisps, is crafted from rescued and upcycled vegetable and grain-based ingredients that might otherwise be left behind.
Tyson Foods provides upcycled chicken breast trim that it says 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 line’s four flavors.
“We could not have developed the Protein Crisps without the enthusiastic collaboration of partners like Molson Coors,” Hamdallah said. “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,” said David Durkee, senior director of R&D and innovation for Molson Coors. “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 social and sustainability challenges related to food.
“With the Protein Crisps we are taking ‘forgotten’ ingredients and crafting them into a delicious protein snack,” continued Hamdallah. “For the ¡Yappah! brand, sustainability is not an add-on, it’s our DNA. Fighting food waste is just the beginning.”
Protein Crisps developed by a trained chef
In January 2018 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,” said Chef Kang Kuan, executive chef at Tyson Innovation Lab.
Chef Kang is no stranger to innovation, having built his culinary career at such nationally acclaimed restaurants as the French Laundry and Morimoto.
“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,” said Kang. “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 four flavors are: Chicken Carrot—Curry Flavored and Chicken Celery—Mojo Flavored, made from rescued veggie puree; and Chicken IPA White Cheddar and Chicken—Shandy Beer Flavored, made from rescued spent grain.
Following the launch of ¡Yappah! On Indiegogo, Tyson will begin a 90-day pilot at one Chicago-based supermarket, starting in July.
“We think a chef-composed snack is a groundbreaking idea, but are cognizant that products fighting food waste are in their nascent stages,” said Santiago Proaño, brand lead at 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.”