The role and development of co-products

In the past, materials left over from a primary process were widely regarded as waste, to be disposed of as cheaply and efficiently as possible. In some cases, they were defined as “by-products”, implying that they retained some limited use but should not be considered a priority concern.

Use of co-products is probably as old as farming, itself. Certainly, farmers have used such products for centuries, while Duynie Group has worked to bring wider use of co-products into farming and other industries since its foundation, 50 years ago. The co-product concept first started to become better and more widely understood around 25 years ago.

A growing movement, which includes academic researchers, often with an environmental focus, as well as industry and progressive farmers, is building a new business sector aimed at using materials left from primary food and beverage production processes. This is based on the growing evidence that such materials have a high intrinsic value and should be treated as a business priority in their own right.

Co-products can be seen to create what we term a “virtuous circle”, in which minimising wastage (giving measurable environmental benefits) is combined with maximising profit (giving significant commercial benefits).