Do Good Foods launches ‘carbon-reduced’ chicken

Dive Brief:

  • Do Good Foods, a startup that specializes in “carbon-reduced” foods, has introduced its first product: Do Good Chicken. The company upcycles surplus food from grocery stores into feed for the chickens. Each chicken product prevents four pounds of food waste from being sent to a landfill, which avoids the generation of approximately three pounds of greenhouse gases, the company said.
  • The chicken products include boneless and skinless breasts, drumsticks, tenderloins, thighs, wingettes and drumettes. The cage-free chicken does not contain any antibiotics, hormones or steroids, according to the company. Do Good Chicken is available at Albertsons grocery banners and Giant stores in the Philadelphia area.
  • Do Good Foods’ carbon-reduced chicken signals the latest effort to improve the sustainability of the poultry sector, which has come under fire for its contributions to greenhouse gas emissions.

Dive Insight:

Globally, livestock contributes 14.5% of all anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, according to the United Nations. Chicken meat and eggs produce 8% of the livestock sector’s total emissions. 

According to sustainability investor group FAIRR, a majority of emissions from poultry and egg production comes from the farming of animal feed. Soy, a common ingredient of chicken feed, contributes significantly to emissions and deforestation, it noted. About 70% to 75% of all soy grown goes into livestock feed, the group said.

This is why Do Good Foods sees such potential in using upcycled animal feed. Last October, the company announced it had raised $169 million to start operations at its Pennsylvania production facility, which is capable of processing 160 tons of excess food from about 450 grocery stores per day. According to the company, feeding animals upcycled food that would have ended up in a landfill makes the chicken “carbon reduced.” By upcycling the food waste, the transportation and processing required to move it to a landfill is avoided.

Do Good Foods hired a chief sustainability officer, Catherine Greener, last November and enlisted a third-party verifying agency, Ruby Canyon Environmental, to measure and validate its greenhouse gas emissions, the company told Food Dive.

Its “carbon reduced” claim contrasts with “carbon neutral,” a descriptor that typically means a company has compensated for all of the greenhouse gases emitted during production and delivery of its products. Depending on the certification body, companies can offset the carbon they produce through projects like tree plantings, or buy credits. 

While products that have earned carbon-neutral certification often prominently feature the claim on their packaging, Do Good Chicken includes educational information on the back of the product, containing visuals detailing how each purchase combats food waste and climate change.

Other companies have focused on feed as a way to reduce their emissions. Last December, grocery giant Kroger announced it had partnered with poultry producer Kipster Farms to introduce carbon-neutral eggs. The chickens are fed with upcycled food from bakeries and other food producers.