The $1 Million Wonderful Innovation Challenge

Inviting innovators to pitch sustainable solutions for 50,000 tons of pomegranate waste

We’ve spent considerable effort finding valuable ways to use crushed pomegranates after we juice them. But we don’t have a monopoly on good ideas. That’s why we sponsored the $1 million Wonderful Innovation Challenge.

The challenge was to transform the 50,000 tons of nutrient-dense husks generated by juicing pomegranates each year into a value-added resource that will have a positive impact on the planet, and it offered innovators up to $1 million in funding and development resources for their economical, environmentally friendly pilot-ready solutions.

To engage the greatest number of innovator applicants and ensure the winning innovations found the best use for the husks, we partnered with ReFED, a national nonprofit working to end food loss and waste, as our strategic advisor and managing partner.

The Wonderful Company is a great example of a business that understands the positive social, economic, and environmental potential of converting what others might simply consider manufacturing byproducts or food waste into other value-added products. This challenge underscores our collective commitment to growth that's responsible to people and the planet.

Alexandria Coari

Vice President of Capital, Innovation and Engagement at ReFED

Out of nearly 400 global applicants, with solutions ranging from sustainable textiles and bioplastics to alternative meat and bioenergy, we selected two winners, and each was awarded a portion of the $1 million allocation to develop their respective pilot programs.

BCD Bioscience, our first winner, is a fast-paced emerging biotechnology spinout from the University of California, Davis. They’re working to create ingredients for food, agriculture, and biopharmaceutical applications. BCD Bioscience is also developing the world's first library of oligosaccharides (carbohydrates) and linking them to their functions as prebiotics and immunomodulators. In other words, they create bioactive compounds that can improve health. Together with POM Wonderful, they believe they can produce a new class of high-value soluble fiber ingredients that can be added to beverages as a source of dietary fiber with healthy prebiotic effects.

Enagon, our second winner, is a manufacturer of powdering, pulverization, and drying equipment. Their proprietary process re-envisions the way food waste and food processing byproducts are dried and ground into powders. They are committed to working with companies worldwide to help reduce waste and create a greener footprint for humanity.
 And now, that group includes POM Wonderful.

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