Sustainable and carbon-neutral eggs. That’s a breakfast idea that starts the day off on the right foot. Kipster, a Dutch egg farm, is showing the rest of the world how it’s done, and now the environmentally-consciously produced eggs can be found in the United States.
In business since 2017, Kipster introduced the world’s first carbon-neutral egg to the Netherlands. This goal was achieved through efforts on several fronts. The first: to reverse the trend of feeding chickens chicken feed. You read that right. Kipster feeds its chickens upcycled food. For example, Kipster chickens eat oat hulls and rejected pasta products. These foods come from bakeries and manufacturers and are turned into chicken food made up of at least 85% food surpluses or byproduct waste. Not only does this significantly reduce the amount of corn and soy traditionally grown specifically for feeding chicken, but it means that food is available for human consumption without impacting chicken supply.
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“Growing crops to feed animals is an inefficient way to feed humans. To produce eggs, you traditionally need a lot of corn and soy to feed the birds,” said Kipster’s Managing Director for the U.S. Sandra Vijn. “If people ate these crops directly, we would need much less land and even have a food surplus – the planet would thank us. The current system, while considered ‘normal’, has many flaws.”
Plus, this new technique for feeding chickens comes with a much lower carbon footprint. In addition, land use is maximized for chicken wanderings rather than for crop production.
Kipster runs a carbon neutral farm by first reducing carbon-producing activities as much as possible and then offsetting any additional footprint, thus earning Certified Carbon Neutral status. This accomplishment is earned, in part, by relying heavily on renewable energy to run the farm. Massive solar arrays provide substantial amounts of energy and the farm reports it doesn’t use any fossil fuels.
This farm model is now coming to the U.S., starting with availability in Michigan and the Cincinnati area. The company plans to expand to other regions within the first half of the year through food giant Kroger and MPS Egg Farms. Kipster Eggs are co-branded with Kroger’s label as Simple Truth + Kipster.
“Choosing Simple Truth + Kipster cage-free eggs is an easy way for our customers to help create a more sustainable food system,” said Denise Osterhues, Kroger’s senior director of Sustainability and Social Impact. “The Kipster system aligns with Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste social and environmental impact plan and mission to advance positive changes for people and our planet. We focus on advancing sustainability and animal welfare in ways that also help maintain access to fresh, affordable foods for everyone.”
In addition to efficient use of land, food and renewable resources, Kipster Farms are also dedicated to ethical treatment of animals. With the knowledge that chickens are forest birds who don’t like heat or rain, the farm is equipped with free range areas that provide both adequate shelter and open spaces. In addition, Kipster provides for roosters. As a standard practice, boy chickens are euthanized after birth since they can’t produce eggs. Rather than tuning into this industry standard, Kipster rebels by ensuring housing for the roosters until they are ready for butchering. Rather than wasting the resource, they are raised for meat.
“Kipster’s egg farming model offers extraordinary transparency and a holistic commitment to animals’ wellbeing that the public is seeking and which animals deserve,” said Nancy Roulston, senior director of corporate policy and animal science, ASPCA Farm Animal Welfare. “The ASPCA applauds Kipster’s innovative work to prove that higher welfare, sustainable farming can be achieved at scale, and we are proud to include their eggs on our Shop With Your Heart list.”
The egg cartons bear the Certified Humane logo and are recognized by Shop With Your Heart, a program by the ASPCA that helps shoppers identify and find more humane groceries.
Kipster also has another unique operation on its farm: it filters its own air. The company said, “The Kipster farm is the first in the U.S. to wash the air that leaves the barns. This removes dust, odor, ammonia and other undesirable particles.”
Not only does this mean less air pollution, but Kipster also takes the additional step of recovering heat from the air before release. This ventilation system adds to energy efficiency, improves air quality and creates better temperature control within the barn environment.
Kipster Farm is so proud of its operations, it vows complete transparency and backs it up with a 24/7 livestream where anyone can watch the activities and treatment of the chickens. Although this is a great way to monitor the progress of your food production, who doesn’t find comfort in watching chickens pecking and scratching through its day?
Images via Kipster Farms