Feed Energy Company launched its identity-preserved product line called Antibiotic Free Advantage earlier this year after about two years of work on its supply chain and production process, said Joe Green, vice president of sales, marketing and product development with the company.
“We’re responding to our customers, who are responding to the consumer,” he told FeedNavigator. “We’ve been anticipating this move for the last two years.”
The initial interest in an energy ingredient for feed that would work in a never, ever antibiotic (NEA) production system came from a group of turkey producers, said Cal Halstead, director of sales with Feed Energy. “We’re in the fats and oils business, and we sell them vegetable oil,” he added.
“We worked with them and developed a vegetable oil and a process for making it and delivering that complied for NAE,” he told us. “Not only that it would be tested negative [for antibiotic presence] but they want it to have never come in contact with antibiotics.”
The work is part of the ongoing research and development that the company does, said Green.
“It is part of our ongoing R&D process to provide new and higher quality products,” he said. “We’re investing heavily in R&D.”
- A survey undertaken by Cargill in August 2016 asked consumers in the US and Brazil for their views on the use of antibiotics in cattle feed and production.
- Earlier this year, Austria's phytogenic product producer, Delacon, ran a poll enquiring about younger consumers’ interest in natural feed additives.
Feed ingredient identity preservation
The Iowa-based company had to address all supply chain, processing and transportation stages to ensure the product was antibiotic free, said Halstead.
“We went back to our suppliers of raw materials [to ensure] no contact with antibiotics through the processing stream, through the processing plant, [we] did extensive testing on the product and [ingredient] segregation in the plants,” he said. “We retooled our plant in Sioux City and in the delivery of the product.”
Efforts to preserve the supply chain mean that it has to travel through a separate system of pipes and storage tanks than the animal fats the company also uses in other products, he said. The company also has had to cut some raw stock products from use in its antibiotic free line as those ingredients potentially could come in contact with antibiotics.
“Our product is identity preserved from the sourcing of the raw product, all the way to the product delivered to the farm, to the producer – it’s a closed system,” said Green. “All of those things are choices we’re making because it’s where the consumer is taking the industry and we’re trying to get ahead of that.”
Interest in the product has expanded beyond the turkey production sector, to other poultry producers and swine farmers, he said. “This is a vast movement in the feed industry,” he added.
There has been increased interest from the market, added Halstead.
The product is currently being offered in the Iowa and North and South Dakota, said Green. But eventually it is set to spread through the western corn belt and reach the entire animal production industry.
“It’s about a third of our business and growing,” he said. “We’re expanding into other plants as the market grows.”