January 31, 2023


Dutch egg producer Kipster cuts emissions by feeding leftovers to hens



Dutch egg producer Kipster feeds their egg-laying hens with wasted food such as expired bread, unsold crackers, and stale stroopwafels, resulting in reduced carbon footprint, Bloomberg reported.


Ruud Zanders, the founder of Kipster, designed a barn different to traditional aluminium-clad sheds. It has a parking garage ventilation system that reduces dangerous ammonia and particulate matter accumulations by more than 70%, a solar-panel roof, and a glass front that allows natural light to flood the chickens' living area without overheating.


The birds are free to fly around, roosting on two-by-four simulated trees and pecking at logs and branches.


Kipster spent years figuring out how to make chicken feed from human food waste because finding the right combination of leftovers that provide the nutrition hens require proved difficult. Unsold bread and cookies are combined with processing failures and test runs from manufacturers at a mill near the German border that has been producing similar products for swine for decades. Laying hens are more picky compared to swine, which will consume anything.


Hannah van Zanten, a professor of farming ecology at Wageningen University in the Netherlands who has advised Zanders, said the grains consumed by animals and later consumed by humans could feed far more people than the meat produced by those animals, adding that the environmental impact will be reduced.


The carbon footprint of Kipster's feed is less than half that of traditional feed, according to the company, but it costs slightly more due to the complexity of collection. Kipster's eggs aren't organic because the food waste isn't certified, but they're about 10% cheaper. Compared to mass-market eggs, Kipster's eggs are about 50% more expensive.


Thijs Kuiken, a pathologist at Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, said Kipter's farm design also helps reduce the likelihood of diseases spreading from animals to humans, a growing concern as avian influenza threatens to become endemic in Europe. Although the hens are less densely packed than in most intensive poultry operations, they have less outdoor space, which reduces the chances of infection from faeces dropped by passing wild birds. Beter Leven, a Dutch animal welfare certification agency, gave Kipster the highest rating.


In 2021, the company announced plans to licence its system to Kroger Co, the largest grocery chain in the US. MPS Egg Farms in Indiana, a Kroger supplier, adopted the system, and its first Kipster eggs hit the shelves a few weeks ago. Four US barns will soon be in operation, according to Kipster, and the company is in talks to license its system to producers in Belgium, France and the UK for production by yearend.


-      Bloomberg

Video >

Follow Us