MUSSEL POWER

Free-range egg producer, Frenz is helping to solve an environmental problem while boosting the nutritional content of its eggs by feeding mussel waste to chickens. After discovering that hens loved natural mussel by-product and realised it could add essential calcium, nutrients and protein to their diet, Frenz founder Rob Darby knew this would come as a solution to the mussel farming industry. Farming mussels creates a lot of waste that is either buried, at a huge cost to the farmer, or thrown overboard before being brought back onshore.

After a nearly 10-year project, the team at Frenz alongside Callaghan Innovation and the mussel farming industry, figured out how to get a regular supply of the waste, dry it affordably, and dispense it to the chickens. “Hens love protein like slugs and worms and everything they eat can benefit the egg produced,” said Darby.

“It really is a win-win situation. The environment wins because the waste is not being put back into the ocean or dumping it into a landfill. We’re giving it to the hens and they convert it into a great source of energy and nutrition that goes into our eggs.” Despite it taking nearly a decade to come to fruition, Darby said it was great to have everyone on board. “Our eggs already have significant more Omega 3 than other eggs, and are higher in protein, with less saturated fat. This is because of their unlimited access to green pasture, and we’re confident we’re going to find other benefits from feeding the mussel feed.”

2500 years ago a wise man called Hippocrates stated that “we should let food be our medicine and medicine be our food.” We could learn a lot in our fast and processed food environment by studying the benefits from the humble hens almost daily offering.

Although comprehensive testing of the eggs will take a few more months, early results show that the yolk contains a significant increase in Omega 3’s and protein.