- Tyson Foods is entering a joint venture with Jacob Stern & Sons to serve the worldwide fats and oils market, the companies said in a statement. Specific terms of the venture, called JST Global LLC, were not publicly disclosed.
- Tyson Fresh Meats, a Tyson subsidiary, operates six beef plants and six pork plants in the United States. Jacob Stern & Sons is among Tyson’s largest customers for animal byproducts. "We maximize the value of every animal we harvest so that no part of the animal goes to waste,” Steve Stouffer, group president of Tyson Fresh Meats, said in a press release. “Responsibly processing fats and oils are a key part of our business and our commitment to sustainability."
- The companies said beef and pork byproducts from fresh meats, along with fats and oils derived from other sources, are used in thousands of products including pharmaceuticals, personal care, animal nutrition and renewable fuels.
While most of the the sustainability efforts from large CPG companies have focused on reducing water usage, turning to recyclable packaging, getting energy from renewable sources or improving the living conditions of farmers who raise their commodities, some companies are thinking outside of the box.
Tyson, the pork, chicken and beef processing giant, handles millions of animals each year, so it's no surprise it would look for ways to tap into these byproducts. While the fats and oils aren't incorporated into human food, their use in hundreds of other products provide another way for Tyson to embrace sustainability and likely generate a little extra revenue in the process as well.
"This joint venture gives us the opportunity to continue to value-up our beef and pork production, enabling us to innovate in new untapped markets while continuing to work directly with existing animal fat customers and the emerging renewable energy market,” Stouffer said.
There is a strong incentive for the meat and poultry industries to focus on environmental impact since consumers are looking for more sustainable products and will often reward those manufacturers with their purchasing dollars. About two-thirds of consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable brands, and that figure is even higher for millennials (73%) and Generation Z (72%), according to Nielsen.
Similar to other food companies such as AB InBev, PepsiCo, Nestlé, Hershey and Coca-Cola, Tyson is no stranger to sustainability efforts. Last year, Tyson and the Environmental Defense Fund announced they will join forces on a land stewardship initiative to help meet consumer demand for more sustainably grown food. And earlier this year, Tyson created the Coalition for Global Protein, a group including leaders from industry, academics, non-governmental organizations and financial institutions that will focus on efforts to advance the future of sustainable protein.
As the buying power of younger generations grows, it becomes more important for CPGs to find as many ways as they can to capture a share of their spending. The Wall Street Journal noted renewable fuel generated from animal fat, for example, has nearly identical chemical properties as diesel from fossil fuels, but produces much less carbon emissions. So the process becomes a win-win for two industries, Tyson that produces the leftover fats and oils, and the end-user that finds a way to use them.