By now, you're probably familiar with cage-free eggs, free-range eggs, and pasture-raised eggs. These new carbon-neutral eggs are a step beyond even those varieties, in terms of animal welfare, sustainability and progressive food policies in general.
The egg-laying hens in this case conduct their business within a unique, closed-loop production system developed in the Netherlands. Pioneering Dutch company Kipster Farms is partnering with Kroger and its U.S. supplier MPS Eggs Farms on the new carbon-neutral program.
The birds are raised in modern, solar panel-equipped henhouses, which are not only free of cages, but also include skylights and multiple garden areas where "the birds have trees, rocks, climbing structures and other things to play on," as MPS Egg Farms Vice President Sam Krouse recently explained to Farm Flavor.
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MPS built four of these newly styled henhouses in Indiana, after touring similar facilities in Europe.
To reduce their carbon footprint, the hens eat repurposed bakery by-products instead of traditional corn-based feed and their manure is turned into organic fertilizer, according to Krouse.
While this surely improves the quality of life for the chickens, it's not immediately clear how it impacts the quality of the eggs. For now, the Simple Truth-brand carbon-neutral eggs are only available at select Kroger locations in Ohio and Michigan. The company plans to bring them to more stores in the coming year.
For added transparency, the packaging even includes a QR code linking customers to a live webcam inside the new egg-production facilities. Check it out here.
It's not quite the intimately detailed dossier on Colin, the locally raised organic chicken from TV's Portlandia—but it's close.
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