A step towards more sustainable animal feed

A new step has been taken towards sustainable animal nutrition following developments in the Netherlands. A cluster of Dutch companies, government agencies, science and social organisations will research sustainable food production methods.

In a new knowledge centre they will work together to process residual animal by-products into high-quality protein-rich animal feed. A circular protein chain is relevant because animal feed made from food waste has a significantly lower CO2 footprint than animal feed made from some traditional raw materials.

Circular use of raw materials means that fewer natural resources are needed every year. In this way it contributes to the conservation of biodiversity and decreases dependence on the global raw materials market.

All parts of the entire food supply chain are working together in the knowledge centre. The joint goal is to provide 1 billion kilograms of extra food into the food chain each year. To do this, they intend to scale up innovations to close cycles and work on an attractive circular economical model for all chain partners. This will involve developing business models to offer distinctive, circular products through supermarkets, specialty stores and the eating-out market.

Millions of kilos

Carine van Vuure, Msc. Manager Nutrition & Regulatory Affairs of Darling Ingredients is one of the partners involved and is working on the reintroduction of animal ingredients in a circular animal protein chain.

“We can keep millions of kilos of food within the chain by converting more residual flows into animal feed. This has a positive impact on our climate, preservation of biodiversity and a resilient food system. In accordance with the Fieldlab principle, we are working on this with experts from Wageningen University and Research (WUR), among others. In order to make the entire concept successful, it is important that as many food chain partners as possible participate in it.”

European Green Deal

According to Mrs Van Vuure, the use of processed animal by-products fits seamlessly into the European Green Deal and the resulting Farm-to-Fork strategy. Due to the specific qualities of the products, it also ensures healthy animals and thus contributes to animal welfare.

“Naturally, the participants within the circular food chain can immediately start with animal products that are already fully permitted under existing legislation,” she says. Animal fats, plasma powder and hemoglobin are a few examples. Through the Fieldlab, chain partners can prepare themselves for the use of Processed Animal Proteins (PAPs) in the long-term if legislation is amended at EU level. This is expected to be possible in the course of this year. If these conditions are met, the products can contribute to a sustainable circular economy.

Learn more

View the circular by-product chain to find out more. A Dutch language version of this story is available here.