COWS COULD provide a new outlet for food waste.
A trial by Company Shop, which works with charities and sells surplus food through members-only shops, has successfully reared a cow on a range of inedible food that was past its sell-by date. This included pasta, confectionery and fruit and veg, which together made up 25% of the cow’s diet.
By converting inedible surpluses into animal feed and subsequently fresh meat, Company Shop creates a closed loop recycling system with “huge charitable benefits”.
Fresh meat from the first “food waste-reared” cow has just been donated to charities in South Yorkshire, including FareShare and the Salvation Army.
Company Shop chairman John Marren said that the initiative provides “a solution to food waste, creates a plentiful supply of animal feed and results in wholesome meals for vulnerable people”.
A spokeswoman said the organisation is now keen to talk to retailers, and possibly other food companies such as caterers, about how the scheme can be extended.
Company Shop currently handles 15,000 tonnes of surplus stock per year, and is set to increase intake to 25,000 tonnes per year over the next three years.
In January, a report by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers claimed that 50% of all food produced around the world never reaches a human stomach.
The study found that a number of factors are to blame, including overly strict sell-by dates, buy-one-get-one free offers and consumers demanding cosmetically perfect food.