Who is the woman leading this innovation?
Malgorzata Then is leading this innovation, she is the CEO of Biotrem.
About the innovator
Biotrem is a Polish technology company developing an innovative production process of bio-based tableware and packaging. The patented technology allows the company to manufacture a biodegradable disposable tableware from sustainable organic raw materials, such as wheat bran, corn bran, cassava by-products, seaweed, algae.
With over 5 million Euro spent on R&D to date, the company is continuously working on new innovations in terms of shapes, raw materials and the production process.
With own production facility and state-of-the-art machine park (developed internally and patent-protected), Biotrem delivers its products to mass-market clients including selected restaurant chains and premium retailers, either directly or through independent distributors.
In 2019, we estimate the value of sales at 1.5 million euros, which is several hundred percent more compared to 2018.
The product that we are able to develop, effectively promote and commercialize thanks to Horizon 2020 is Branbox - waterproof container for take-away, which will replace plastic boxes, used among others by Delivery Hero or Uber Eats.
The Biotrem R&D team keeps extending implementation of proprietary technology and researching for new organic raw materials – i.e. corn bran, cassava by-products, seaweeds, algae. Basing on very promising laboratory and production tests, that in the nearest future Biotrem will introduce to the market several new products – cups, straws, take-away packaging.
Biotrem on Twitter.
What is the innovation
The wheat bran tableware production process was invented almost two decades ago (i.e. before the foundation of Biotrem).
Biotrem was founded in 2012 as a limited liability company by private Polish entrepreneurs to capitalise on this invention and R&D efforts by commercialising bran-based tableware products.
Upon the foundation of the company, the current CEO – Małgorzata Then – and her business partners provided part of the funds for R&D and machinery. Since then, the product development team has relied to a large extent on national government and EU-funding (including Horizon 2020, and European Structural and Investment Funds) to reach the current level of business and technology advancement.
The current tableware production plant is located in Zambrów, Poland and uses bran from wheat. The plant is supplied by local mills in North-Eastern Poland (the region of Podlasie), a traditionally agricultural region. This allows a stable access to high quality, GMO free, raw material (bran) from nearby mills..
Biotrem is selling its products in over 40 countries worldwide, in particular within the EU and rest of the Europe. Recently the company also entered markets in North and South America, Middle East and Asia.
Biotrem’s main product line is fully biodegradable disposable tableware produced from the compressed wheat bran. 1 ton of wheat bran can be transformed into up to 10.000 plates, bowls or cups. The company’s offer also includes cutlery made from mix of PLA bioplastic and wheat bran.
Biotrem disposable products, made from wheat bran, are an excellent alternative to most disposable tableware made from plastic, paper and even some chemically-processed bio-based products, the production and utilisation of which has a heavy environmental footprint.
Biotrem wheat bran disposable products are extremely environmentally friendly and fully compostable (no industrial composting required) within just 30 days.
The Branbox is the next iteration of products created within the Biotrem’s unique technology – fully biodegradable and waterproof take-away containers made of wheat bran.
Out of the lab. Into the market
Biotrem’s mission is to solve the painful and harmful to the environment problem of the plastic pollution, mostly created by single-use plastic-based packaging and takeaway containers. We have invented and already commercialised the proprietary technology which allows to use the wheat bran to make the single-use tableware.
Going one step further and extending the Biotrem technology to start producing takeaway containers requires ensuring waterproofness of products, while maintaining full biodegradability and low negative impact on the natural environment, which is a great, but achievable challenge.
Bringing the product to the market at the small scale will not give the desired environmental results. Hence, Biotrem plans to introduce the scaled-up production (by licensing) and commercialization.
The market for such biodegradable packaging is worth at the moment €11B and is quickly growing at the CAGR of 16% and is going to reach €20B within next decade.Our end-users (each of us) will benefit from the plastic-free environment. Our customers – distributors, food chains and packaging producers, and mills will benefit from the new business opportunities. Our extensive distribution network will help us to fully exploit opportunities to commercialize the Branbox.
Benefits of participation in Horizon 2020
EU funds have a huge and direct impact on the success of the Biotrem project. The company has taken part in publicly-funded projects (EU-funds, governmental-funds) covering the different stages of commercialisation, including research projects, a project supporting the investment for building the production plant, a feasibility study with recommendations on how to successfully commercialise their technology, and more recently funding for promotional/branding activities and for implementing R&D improvements in the production process.
The company has already spent over EUR 6 million on R&D and production facilities to date, and is continuously working on new innovations in terms of shapes, raw materials and the production process. Of these EUR 6 million, the building of the production facilities at commercial scale required EUR 3.5 million.
With Branbox products Biotrem also enters the fast-growing market niche as the global market of biodegradable take-away containers is worth €0.5 billion and is growing at CAGR 8%, (€1 billion in 2027). It’s a great investment opportunity.