Food recycling

Related tags Recycling Food

Unsold bakery products in the US may well become the animal feed of
tomorrow, following moves by a US company to recycle foods more

Unsold bakery products may well become the animal feed of tomorrow, following moves by a US company to recycle foods more efficiently, according to a report from Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.

US company Bakery Feeds, a division of Kentucky-based Griffin Industries, recycles commercial bakery and snack food products into animal and poultry feed called Cookie Meal at its 40,000-square-foot facility in the Wolf Lake Industrial Center where it located in 1999. The Cookie Meal is sold to feed manufacturers, and large pork and poultry producers such as Tyson Foods.

"We serve the bakery industry," said general manager Mark Wojcik. "We get products they can't use for many reasons. The packaging could be damaged or it could be out-of-code. If the products aren't perfect, they don't go out to the consumer. We turn them into a useful commodity."

Bread, crackers, cookies, pasta, bagels, chips and cereal are collected by the company from companies including Kraft Foods, its Nabisco division and Gonella Bread and brought to the plant for processing. There packaging is mechanically removed, contents are heated in large natural gas fired driers to remove bacteria and moisture, and then ground into the Cookie Meal animal feed.

"We process in excess of 83,000 tons of bakery waste each year saving our bakery manufacturing customers in excess of $3.3 million (€3.5m) each year in waste disposal costs,"​ Wojcik said. " We pick it up at no charge or pay for products. Our customers are saving that money and that's reflected in the cost of a loaf of bread, which saves consumers money."

The company also keeps that amount of bakery waste and a lot of cardboard boxes, which also are recycled, out of the area's landfills. And it may be able to reduce it further if it can locate a recycler who will take the mixture of plastic and cardboard packaging material now compacted and put in landfills.

As a commodity, Cookie Meal competes with corn and mimics its price with supply determining price. The privately-owned company doesn't reveal its annual sales, but they range from $10 million to $25 million, according to the Indiana Industrial Directory and confirmed by Wojcik.

The company, which has 28 employees, gets its bakery products from an area within a 150 mile radius of its production facilities, while it ships the Cookie Meal in bulk form via railroad or Hopper bottom grain trailers to buyers throughout the US and to Latin America. The plant is operated 24 hours a day weekdays and for one, eight-hour shift on weekends.

"We're fully automated facility with state of the art equipment,"​ Wojcik said.

Related topics Ingredients

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