The co-founders of Do Good Foods — brothers Justin and Matt Kamine — grew up on a farm in New Jersey. They would routinely take food leftovers and feed them to their chickens, pigs and pets, which they said helped the animals grow strong.
Several years later, the brothers took that as inspiration for their company where they collect unused food like fruit and bagels from grocery stores, process it with typical feed ingredients such as corn and soybeans, and then feed it to their chickens.
“The best usage of food is to give it to humans to eat. The next best is to give it to animals,” said Justin, who is co-CEO, along with his brother. “We're just bringing that idea to the masses to showcase to the world that we can use our food system to solve our environmental problems.”
Do Good launched in 2021 after raising $169 million from asset management company Nuveen. The company is aiming to scale up its operations to reach more consumers.
The Kamines see promise in spreading their operations nationwide, and they currently have plans for a rapid expansion. Do Good’s first processing facility was built in Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania. It has two more under construction in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Selma, North Carolina.
“Our focus here is to ... upcycle surplus food into feed in every major metropolitan area, and to have Do Good Chicken and Eggs across the country in the near term,” Justin said.
The company debuted its first product, “carbon-reduced” Do Good Chicken, at select stores in the Philadelphia and New York City regions in 2022. Last December, it announced plans to launch Do Good Eggs with Post Holdings’ Michael Foods at food service locations. The eggs will prevent roughly one pound of carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere, Do Good said.
The company’s chicken can now be purchased at Jewel-Osco stores in Chicago and Morton Williams stores in the New York City area. Last month, the company announced it diverted roughly 27 million pounds of food waste to date and saved 3,100 metric tons of carbon dioxide.
Annually, at least one billion pounds of food is wasted in the U.S., equal to roughly 40% of the country’s entire food supply, according to the nonprofit organization Feeding America. And a majority of emissions from poultry and egg production comes from making the feed that is given to them, sustainability investor group FAIRR said.
The co-CEOs said the production of its Do Good products is among the most effective ways to lower emissions in the food supply chain. They said most consumers do not want to change their habits, as the majority of people still purchase meat products. Do Good’s solution allows them to make a measurable, formulaic and direct contribution to lower emissions.
“We can continue to scale plant-based proteins, but the animal agriculture industry is still one of the largest,” Justin said. “We are aiming to create a closed loop system that’s economically viable, and empowering consumers to now be a part of the solution and actually contribute to fighting food waste.
Bringing consumers along
Do Good’s facility growth comes as consumers are more aware of food waste.
In 2022, the Upcycled Food Association told Food Dive that 60% of consumers said they would buy upcycled food products. More recently, consulting firm Kearney found last month that 42% of consumers said they always or nearly always consider the environment when making food purchases, an 18 percentage point increase from the previous year.
Do Good is expanding its reach by launching its products at restaurants, universities and corporate campuses.
“We provide many of these partners a quantifiable carbon impact receipt at the end of each month, so that they can tally up the pounds of food waste and greenhouse gases they are saving solely by the amount of chicken they’re selling,” Matt said.
Packaging is another way food companies are educating consumers on the benefits of upcycling. On the back of each Do Good Chicken product, there is an equation detailing how it saves four pounds of surplus grocery food and three pounds of emissions, Matt said.
The Kamines said they are focusing on eggs and chicken right now, but that other products such as beef could make their way into the Do Good portfolio.
Cost is important to food companies when they consider selling a new product, especially during a period of heightened food inflation. Matt said Do Good Chicken is priced similarly to standard poultry, and less than organic chicken, at grocery stores.
“We hope that if it’s priced the same and tastes the same, consumers will consider doing good for the environment with a quantifiable equation to combat climate change,” Matt said.