Holy cow – Halloween candy turns into a sustainable feed for the herd

Dairy Cows enjoy feed made from Halloween candy, photo provided by Cargill
Dairy Cows enjoy feed made from Halloween candy, photo provided by Cargill /

As the kids hope to secure an overflowing bag of Halloween candy, those little ghosts and goblins aren’t the only ones getting a sweet treat this spooky season. The cows have a little extra sweetness in that feed thanks to Cargill and Hershey’s.

Although many people drink milk and enjoy a burger, people do not often contemplate what those cows eat on the daily basis. Even if beef is what’s for dinner, a moment to contemplate how that herd feasts might to be part of the conversation.

Breweries and distilleries often send their spent grain to local farms. The idea of repurposing otherwise unusable food product is smart for everyone involved. It might not be the biggest sustainability conversation, but it is another way to ensure that nothing goes to waste.

Recently, Cargill and Hershey’s shared how they work together to create a cow feed that repurposes candy bits that would otherwise not be used. To be clear, there is nothing technically wrong or inedible with this food. From cosmetically imperfect candies to the little bits stuck to the machine, the reality is that the partnership gives those candies another purpose.

To be clear, Cargill has formulated a way to create an animal feed that offers a balance of sugar. Based on years of science nutrition, the food is good for the cows. It might not be the trick or treating that the families are doing on Halloween, but that candy is serving a good purpose.

From that Hershey’s chocolate bar to the crunchy Kit Kat, all those treats can be used for feed. In a way, it is another example of a circular economy. No one, both two and four legged, will be sorry for enjoying that Reese’s.

As more companies appreciate how to repurpose food, this conversation can and should grow. Just throwing away usable food or material needs to be off the table. Finding a second, third or more life for a product needs to be front and center. Whether it is a sustainable cocktail showcasing used coffee grounds or this cow feed concept, the trash bin might start to look a little emptier. And, that is a good thing.

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