Ex-food products

Learn the definition of former food products the types and current regulatory references and their importance in the Circular Economy

What are ex-food products

Questi prodotti dunque derivano dai processi produttivi delle aziende alimentari e possono presentarsi come prodotti finiti, singoli ingredienti o residui di lavorazione.

Ex-food products are food products that, although produced in accordance with EU food regulations for human consumption, are found to be unfit for human consumption.

This state of non-compliance may result from various factors, such as logistical, practical or imperfection problems in processing, packaging or other reasons. Despite this, they do not pose a health risk when used as feed.

The definition of former foodstuff can be found in Part A, point 3 of the Annex to Commission Regulation (EU) No. 68/2013 and the more recent EU Regulation (EU 1104/2022), amending Regulation (EU) No. 68/2013 on the Catalogue of Feed Materials.

According to these Regulations, former foodstuffs are defined as:

“foodstuffs, other than kitchen and catering residues, which have been manufactured for human consumption in a manner that is fully compliant with Union food law, but which are no longer intended for human consumption for practical, logistical reasons or reasons related to manufacturing, packaging or other defects, without posing any risk to health when used as feed.”

These products therefore result from the production processes of food companies and can occur as finished products, individual ingredients or processing residues.

The role of former food products in the Circular Economy

In this context, former food products are a key tool of the Circular Economy in the food supply chain.

A study carried out by the Swedish Institute for Food and Biotechnology (SIK) in 2011, commissioned by FAO (Gustavsson, J. et al. 2011), revealed that 1.3 billion tons of food, or about one-third of the world’s production, is wasted globally each year.

This figure underscores how important it is for companies to correctly classify these types of products, preventing them from becoming waste and thus minimizing the negative impact on the economic and environmental system.

Ex-food products partially replace the use of “traditional” raw materials for feed production, going to contribute to resource efficiency and meeting the nutritional needs of animals.

So the reuse of former food products contributes to the production of circular feed while promoting a food supply chain that is increasingly stretched and focused on sustainability.

Benefits of circular valorization of former food products

Intensively enhancing the value of former food products from a circular perspective offers numerous benefits.

The main benefits are:

  • Decreased food waste and the amount of products no longer intended for human consumption classified as waste;
  • Growth in awareness of the importance of food waste reuse within sector supply chains;
  • Reduction in the overall environmental impact of the food supply chain;
  • Opening of new economic opportunities, with potential savings and gains for companies.

The importance of former food products within the waste hierarchy

Image representing the waste hierarchy, a tool that allows us to understand how to implement more or less circular and sustainable practices for managing production processes and the waste they generate.
Source: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmenvfru/429/42905.htm

When talking about former food products, it is essential to refer to the “Food and Drink Material Hierarchy,” an analytical and management tool for production waste in the food sector, developed by WRAP and adopted by the EU.

From the inverted pyramid of this hierarchy, it is clear that using former food products as feed (category: “Sent to Animal Feed”) is an extremely positive action, placing it in the green zone dedicated to reduction.

This implies that allocating waste in this way represents a Circular Economy practice, offering significant benefits over other solutions, such as sending it to biodigesters (category: “Waste sent to Anaerobic Digestion”), which is considered a recycling activity.

Utilization and valorization of former food products

Former food products, obtained during various stages of production processes in the food industry, can be used as raw material for feed for farm animals.

The use in feed, of former food products, supports sustainable resource management by promoting the reuse of food products within the same food chain.

Pulsante: valorizza ora i tuoi scarti aziendali Pulsante: Valorizza ora i tuoi scarti aziendali

Do you want to enhance your former food products?

With Sfridoo® you give new value to your waste, reaping economic, fiscal and environmental benefits by partnering with companies in the Sfridoo network.


Ex-food products in animal feed

Ex-food products, which are used as feed materials for farm animal feed, are generally represented by products from the bakery, pasta and confectionery industries.

Some examples of former food products used in animal nutrition are residues from cookies, pasta, breadsticks, and candies, as listed in the catalog of feed materials in Regulation (EU) 2022/1104

The “Feed-From-Food” approach helps companies not only reduce the amount of organic waste that would otherwise rank in the least virtuous rungs of the waste hierarchy but also lower disposal costs by generating a new source of income. 

Valuing these products helps raise awareness of food waste reduction and can create new opportunities in the agribusiness sector.

Types of former feed materials

Within Commission Regulation (EU) 2022/1104 of July 1, 2022, amending Regulation (EU) No. 68/2013, pertaining to the feed materials catalog, we find the list of former products that can be used as a new feedstock.

Below are some of the macro categories introduced:

  • Prodotti dell’industria del pane e della pasta alimentare.
  • Prodotti dell’industria gelatiera.
  • Prodotti dell’industria dolciaria.
  • Prodotti della fabbricazione di cereali da colazione.
  • Prodotti dell’industria pasticcera.
  • Prodotti e coprodotti dell’industria degli snack.

Regulation ex-food products

The image has an operator in the background who is checking their production process, making sure everything is okay. The image also has an inscription containing four regulations, which are "Regulation (EU) 2022/1104, Regulation (EC) No.183/05, Communication (EU) 2018/C 133/02, Regulation (EC) No.767/2009"

In Europe’s vast and complex regulatory landscape, feed and food safety regulations occupy a central position.

Legislation and communications in this regard aim to ensure safety and transparency in the production, handling, marketing and use of products intended for animals and, consequently, consumer protection.

Key EU legislation and communications in this area outline objectives, goals and key features that deserve special attention.

Regulation (EU) 2022/1104 – amending Regulation (EU) No. 68/2013 concerning the catalogue of feed materials

Regulation 2022/1104, which modifies Regulation (EU) No. 68/2013, provides a detailed list of raw materials used in feed production, precisely defining the characteristics and specifications of each ingredient.

The main objective of these criteria is to ensure the safety and compliance of the ingredients used.

The regulation plays a crucial role in the protection of animal health.

Regulation (EC) No.183/05: hygiene requirements in feed production and distribution

Regulation (EC) No. 183/2005 establishes a list of hygiene requirements and standards for feed production and distribution, specifying the definitions and characteristics of each aspect involved.

Regulation (EC) 183/2005 establishes requirements for feed hygiene, from primary production to feeding to food-producing animals, with the aim of ensuring a high level of animal and consumer health protection through feed control throughout the food chain. 

Feed operators are directly responsible for feed safety through the implementation of procedures based on hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP), through the application of good hygiene practices, and through the exclusive use of feed from establishments registered/approved under this Regulation.

This directive requires feed business operators to ensure that the production, handling, storage, and transportation of feed is safe and compliant with regulations, while ensuring traceability of the supply chain.

Communication (EU) 2018/C 133/02: guidelines for feed production

Communication (EU) 2018/C 133/02 provides guidelines on the use of food no longer intended for human consumption as animal feed with a view to the Circular Economy

The communication was issued by the European Commission and aims to regulate the use of such feed to ensure food safety and animal health. 

The guidelines in the communication cover, for example, the registration of establishments as food and feed businesses, audits of facilities, and the definition of food no longer intended for human consumption.

These guidelines are of paramount importance to food and feed businesses, as they provide clear guidelines on the correct practices to follow for the use of such foods.

Regulation (EC) No.767/2009: marketing and use of feed

Regulation (EC) No. 767/2009 sets out the rules for the marketing, labeling and use of feed.

The main objective of the legislation is to ensure safety and transparency in the feed market, protecting both animal and consumer health.

The Regulation also introduces specific criteria for the information that must be included on product labels and regulates the advertising of feed itself.

Finally, the regulations include a list of prohibited raw materials and define conditions for the use of specific substances and products.

Pulsante: valorizza ora i tuoi scarti aziendali Pulsante: Valorizza ora i tuoi scarti aziendali

Do you want to enhance your former food products?

With Sfridoo® you give new value to your waste, reaping economic, fiscal and environmental benefits by partnering with companies in the Sfridoo network.


Examples of valorization of ex-food products

In the context of European legislation and Circular Economy strategies, the optimal management of former food products emerges as a winning practice.

Several companies have adhered to the so-called “Feed-From-Food” approach and wisely transformed waste, such as that from the production of rice cakes or egg noodles, into valuable resources useful for circular feed production.

By directing this waste to the feed chain, companies have not only reduced their environmental impact but also achieved significant economic benefits

This practice underscores the importance and potential of former food products in the sustainability of the agribusiness industry.