As its business grew, Wellington-based brewery Garage Project developed a one-tonne a day problem—spent grain. This high-protein, high-fibre by-product of the brewing process was loved by farmers for stock feed, but it was a cost to the business. At that point, Garage Project’s co-founder Jos Ruffell asked why the grain couldn’t be put to better use; in a dog biscuit, for example. The goal was to create something like Garage Project beers: unique, premium and tasty to dogs.

“Instead of just adding a standard ingredient like peanut butter to the spent grain, we went for pure New Zealand ingredients and worked with a local chef on the recipe,” said Jason Crowe, business manager of Garage Project.
After about a year selling ‘Mashbone’ through the brewery shop, Garage Project initially approached FoodPilot looking for nutritional analysis, recipe refinement and packaging advice. However, after a visit to Massey and a series of conversations, they opted for a much more in-depth project, to ensure that ‘Mashbone’ biscuits were palatable and healthy for dogs, with a repeatable production method, defined shelf-life and packaging options.

Today 100g packets of ‘Mashbone’ biscuits are on shelves at a handful of pet stores, vet clinics and doggy daycares throughout the Wellington region, and plans are afoot for further rollout.
The project, which was majority-funded by the Bioresource Processing Alliance, has enabled Garage Project to access expertise via Massey University and the Food Pilot, that were essential to the successful development of the product and enabled turning a cost centre in its business into a profit generator. To contact the team at FoodPilot, email foodpilot@massey.ac.nz or visit www.massey.ac.nz/foodpilot.