Environment
Environment

Alvar Pet – Use of by-products in product development

When any food is manufactured, it results in some loss, for example in broiler production 30% of the birds are by-products not used in grocery retail. On our mission to minimize the carbon footprint, we make use of by-products in our production. By-products are valuable ingredients that are the spark of our innovation and essential in the transition towards a more sustainable industry.

CO2e reduced (%)
84
Total impact 244 See all »
CO2e reduced (%)
84
Total impact 244 See all »
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Chief Impact Builder at Solved - The Cleantech Company
Eetu Helminen
Review

Pets are an increasing challenge both in mitigating climate change as well as tackling biodiversity issues. The use of byproducts is sensible and welcome and therefore the act provides one answer to the challenge. It does not however tackle the root cause of growing numbers of pets and their need for animal protein. The fear is that when the profitability of food production raises through the up-cycling of the byproducts and making the production more profitable, it also increases the production of eg poultry products in general.

About Eetu
I’m an enthusiastic, goal-driven, experienced, and inspiring change leader as well as an impact builder and communication professional. I have been leading and played major parts in many sustainability business concepts, design processes, and impact projects. I have been building tools for scaling up impact and business for the past decade at Solved, Helsinki Metropolitan Smart & Clean Foundation, and Siemens. My background comes from news journalism.
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Purpose

The industry has been in a continuous growth in the last decades as the culture around pet owners have significantly shifted. The industry trends are showing signs of unsustainable consumption with the growing demand for human-grade and premium pet food. The food industry will be facing challenges to provide enough food for the growing population of humans and pets in the future.

We want to show that high quality pet food can be made sustainably without compromising the health and safety of pets. Animal by-products are high in nutritional value and can be a solution in feeding the growing population of pets sustainably in the future.

Results

The use of by-products can be considered as a sustainable way of producing pet food as otherwise large amounts of ingredients would be wasted. The benefits of using waste materials include cost-efficiency, lower GHG emissions and reduces the need for virgin sources. Rendering by-products is also more environmentally friendly compared to other disposal methods of by-products.

It is also about increasing circularity as all the ingredients get back in cycle. Use of by-products also makes a significant economic contribution to the related industries as otherwise wasted material can be sold. It is also noteworthy that not all by-products are unsuitable for humans but can be made suitable by processing.

Implementation

All of our products are designed with the lowest emissions at aim – our product portfolio proves that use of by-products can result in a diverse selection of products with the highest quality.

Our kibble selection includes 8 recipes which totals around 1,1 CO2e/kg and compared to an average premium pet food, it’s 84% less in emissions.

In addition to the kibbles, our product portfolio includes treats from by-products. Our fish heads are made from by-products of Järvisuomen Kalatuote of ingredients that would not be used in human nutrition (here: “muikkukukko”) purposes so to avoid throwing them away, we dry them into sustainable treats for dogs.

Our elk chews are a textbook example of zero waste; in Finland, elks are not bred but they live and grow in the wild. The population of Finnish elks is maintained by regulated hunting. Our production partner Kokkolan Nahka gathers the elk hides and refines them into high-quality leather used in the fashion industry. However, often parts of the elk skin are damaged and these bits are rolled and dried up as delicious dog chews.

Our product selection also includes training treats and wet food – all from by-products! The fish wet food consists of coarse fish from our lakes and the chicken wet food from the by-products of chicken production.

Not only we make use of waste ingredients but also get to collaborate with responsible partners and innovate together. The new ways of using ingredients can result in innovations that can at best benefit the whole society.

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