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Minnesota-based NewStarch Solutions Named Ag Innovator of the Year

The Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI) is excited to announce Plymouth, Minn.-based NewStarch Solutions (NSS) as the organization’s Ag Innovator of the Year.

The AURI Board of Directors awards the Ag Innovator of the Year to a Minnesota company or entrepreneur making a substantial impact in the areas of product innovation, uniqueness and commercialization potential. This is AURI’s highest honor, awarded since 2002.

NewStarch Solutions produces a range of sustainable, biodegradable packaging materials made from plant starches, which are first processed into resin beads or pellets, which can then be further processed into a range of biobased packaging materials, making NewStarch Solution’s product line environmentally friendly and a cost-effective alternative over those made from synthetic expanded polystyrene or Styrofoam.

Founded in 2016 by Dean Bartels, Matt Niles and Don Niles, NewStarch Solutions operates with a unique business model. In addition to making its own products, it manufactures and ships resin to customers around the world. It also sells equipment needed to make products, trains customers on how to manufacture products and provides parts and service agreements to keep equipment running. This model helps reduce costs for NewStarch and its customers.

NewStarch Solutions is rapidly growing, its latest product line is for the medical and hospitality industry. AURI’s Biobased Team partnered with the team at NewStarch Solutions to produce a technical specification sheet for a biodegradable packing sheet. Technical staff also conducted puncture testing and biodegradability analysis and arranged for third party testing of the sheets for insulative properties. To further marketing goals, AURI worked with NewStarch Solutions to navigate the process for having their range of products become green certified.

“We are extremely grateful for the services AURI has provided us over the last few years. The organization has introduced us to various grant opportunities which have significantly aided in financing the growth of our business. AURI continues to be a fantastic resource for us, most recently by helping to achieve BPI certification on our products as well as continuing to assist us in bringing new products to market,” said Dean Bartels, co-owner and vice president of marketing and sales at NewStarch Solutions. “We are fortunate to have an organization like AURI in our state, the value they provide to businesses like ours cannot be understated.”

NewStarch is a worthy recipient of the Ag Innovator of the Year distinction, said Shannon Schlecht, AURI’s Executive Director. The company produces a product that fills a growing industry need and aligns well with AURI’s Biobased expertise.

“The gap NewStarch Solutions identified, and the solution it explored to produce a biobased packaging material has tremendous potential. E-commerce and packaging needs have accelerated in the last two years while consumer desires for sustainable products are also trending upward,” Schlecht said. “This creates a significant opportunity for early innovators in this space to capitalize on these two trends to rapidly grow market share. It is rewarding to see agriculture-based starches move into these types of industrial products as an opportunity area that can grow in parallel with the increase in protein demand for crops. AURI is proud to work with companies like New Starch Solutions that are driving agriculturally based innovations forward.”

Contact Erik Evans, Director of Communications at AURI to schedule an interview or request additional information about NewStarch Solutions and the Ag Innovator of the Year. Email or dial 218-888-7600 ext. 102.


About AURI
The Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI)’s mission is to foster long-term economic benefit through value-added agricultural products. It accomplishes this by using science and technology to help develop new uses for agricultural products. It collaborates with businesses and entrepreneurs to generate economic impact in Minnesota communities by helping them take advantage of innovative opportunities in four focus areas: biobased products, renewable energy, coproducts and food. AURI provides a broad range of services, including applied research and development, scientific assistance and a targeted network of resources to develop value-added uses for crops and coproducts. To learn more about AURI, visit