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Saying “YES” starts GFS

From Origin Story to Original Solutions

Recently, Green Field Solutions’ head of sustainability, Jennifer Luchte, talked with Innovation Forum about its annual conference, The Future of Food and Beverage USA. Introducing GFS was a great overview of the company’s origin story, how original solutions are improving commercial food waste recycling, and how its circular model is contributing to a better planet. Here’s what she had to say:  

GFS Origin Story: Saying Yes

Jen Luchte

The Green Field Solutions origin story starts with our sister company, International Ingredient Corporation, which has been working with sustainable food companies since the 1970s, sourcing specific by-products such as liquid whey permeate, a cheese by-product. They have expanded over the years to include products like brewer’s yeast, dried milk, chocolate, bacon fat and a long list of others. With the expertise of its R&D team, IIC formulates nutritious ingredients for livestock feed and pet food that’s sold in dozens of countries. 

Over the years, as IIC continued to source these by-products, their largest producers began to say, “If you want this one by-product, you also have to take all the others, too.” As these companies streamlined their operations, they wanted an easier solution with fewer vendors. Naturally, IIC said “yes” to taking all of the by-products, which set the stage for Green Field Solutions to step onto the scene. 

Just like IIC has done for years, GFS continues to say “yes” to its clients as it diversifies the kinds of materials it works with. For example, a newer client of ours makes ready-to-eat meals available in grocery stores. We take all of their excess potato waste, and — using our network of livestock producers — assign new value to a waste stream that had previously cost the company to discard. In addition to keeping the organic waste out of landfills, our strategically located facilities has reduced their need to transport the waste material, which is not only expensive, but is unsustainable given there’s a lot of emissions involved. 

GFS Annual Sales Meeting

How it Works: Finding Never-before Solves 

Green Field Solutions will go into a company and do an audit, looking at how they create waste, how they collect waste and how they dispose of waste. Our goal is to divert 100% of food waste to animal feed or recycling and help the company reduce or completely eliminate waste. 

A lot of times it involves solutions that have never been implemented before. For example, we’re working with the world’s largest ice cream company. Ice cream waste is a very hard substance to process. Its emulsifiers make it hard to dry, and it gets sticky like cotton candy. We partnered with a couple of universities to develop a new liquid feeding system that’s more like what happens in Europe. Before, it was getting land spread. Now, it is a feed ingredient that is a nutritious energy source for swine that also tastes really good.

Circular Model: Contributing to a Better Planet

Instead of sending by-products to the landfill once and for all, the circular model calls for keeping these materials in the food supply chain to feed animals and ultimately feed people. This approach can have a major impact on how the food and feed industries can be part of a global solution. 

Green Field Solutions is a small company, and we diverted over a billion pounds from the landfill in 2023. Just think how much more can be done to positively impact the environment, offset crop production, and reduce emissions — all while turning a company’s proverbial straw into gold. 

At Green Field Solutions, our philosophy is to build trust and long-term partnerships so we can change the paradigm of how companies use their food waste and process their by-products.