Fresh dairy foods are among the most wasted food groups.

December 22, 2021

2 Min Read
Chr. Hansen applies bacteria knowledge to help reduce food waste

As the official start of the holiday season got under way a few weeks ago, so did the overconsumption of food for many Americans. In fact, ReFED predicts that more than 300 million pounds of food will have gone to waste this Thanksgiving in the United States. This time of year often coincides with food excess for many, and one global company is using its 150 years of working with bacteria to address the topic of food waste. 

Chr. Hansen, a company based in Denmark with U.S. headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisc., is applying its good bacteria and fermentation knowledge to reduce food waste and support animal health to increase the sustainability of the entire food chain. 

"We know that we waste about one-third of our food supply," says Steve Lerner, Chr. Hansen head of Marketing and Product Management, Animal Health and Nutrition, North America. "That food waste contributes about 6% of global greenhouse gas emissions, especially methane. Food waste is a real problem across the entire food chain, but we believe our bacteria can play a role in reducing food waste in commonly used foods, like yogurt." 
Fresh dairy foods are among the most wasted food groups. Chr. Hansen is taking a close look at the different strains of bacteria, utilizing traditional fermentation principles to help improve quality and shelf life and reduce waste.
"At Chr. Hansen, more than 80% of our revenue support the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and we have very specific product-related targets to integrate them into our daily practices," says Annemarie Meisling, Chr. Hansen senior director of sustainability. "One of our goals for 2025 includes reducing food waste within yogurt production by 2 million tons."
Within the Animal Health and Nutrition division of Chr. Hansen, bacteria also play a sustainable role in the livestock and poultry sector of food production. As consumers continue to support sustainable efforts through food purchases, farmers and ranchers are looking for safe, reliable ways to reduce their footprint as they raise meat, egg and milk products.
"If farmers are looking for sustainable solutions for their herd, flock, flow or lot, probiotics are a great option," says Lerner. "Our products are designed to support normal functions of the rumen and intestinal tract in animals, allowing them to efficiently digest the food they consume and turn it into energy. This reduces the amount of feed they require to grow and mature properly, and also reduces the amount of waste they produce. Probiotics are the very picture of sustainable science." 

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