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Press Release – May 29, 2024 8 AM EST

Kipster Challenges Industry Norms in U.S. by Committing to In-Ovo Sexing Technology to End Culling of Male Chicks

Forward-thinking egg farmer strives to further improve animal welfare, reduce waste by raising male birds in alignment with a more humane, sustainable food system

North Manchester, Indiana May 29, 2024 – Kipster, a global leader in animal welfare and sustainable farming, announces it is adopting a new in-ovo sexing technology which it will use as an alternative to culling male chicks, starting in the U.S. this fall. The company will be one of the first U.S. egg brands to launch this cutting-edge approach that allows for the sex determination of chick embryos during incubation before they develop sentience, aiming to prevent the hatching of males.

The U.S. egg industry kills over 300 million male chicks each year after they hatch. Kipster’s goal is to utilize all animals born into its farm system, including raising roosters for animal protein. However, the U.S. meat supply chain is not currently set up to process males of the breed commonly used for layer hens. This innovation will allow the company to continue its foundational commitment to animal welfare and zero-waste philosophies.

“In-ovo sexing is a crucial step forward that will allow us to eliminate chick culling right away,” said Ruud Zanders, Co-founder of Kipster. “This technology provides an immediate and effective solution as we continue to explore sustainable meat production that meets our high welfare standards.”

As the very first commercial egg producer in the U.S. to not cull its male chicks since its U.S. farm opened in 2022 like it does in Europe, the company had to resort to doing so for the first time this year because of a lack of critical infrastructure and retail market for rooster meat in the U.S. Undeterred by obstacles and determined to address this ethical concern that is an issue across the egg industry, Kipster’s adoption of in-ovo sexing of embryos is a solution for the company moving forward.

Launching in the Netherlands in 2017, Kipster started climate-neutral egg production in the U.S. in December 2022 and its eggs are available at Kroger and its many other site banners in 28 states. The company invites stakeholders and the public to engage in discussions about this significant change. Input and ideas are welcomed by emailing egg@kipster.farm to help prompt more solutions further to Kipster’s ethical and environmental standards.

“Kipster has shown its commitment to animals and the environment by developing a more compassionate and responsible way of farming at scale through innovative barn design that makes cruel routine practices like caging and beak trimming obsolete. We applaud Kipster’s commitment to adopting in-ovo sexing technology as well as its transparency about its challenges and willingness to pivot in order to stay true to its mission. We hope Kipster’s leadership inspires the wider egg industry to prevent needless male chick culling.”
– Nancy Roulston, Senior Director of Corporate Policy and Animal Science, ASPCA Farm Animal Welfare

Mercy For Animals commends Kipster’s leadership on adopting in-ovo sexing in the United States. Consumers are horrified to learn that male chicks in the egg industry are routinely killed — often ground up alive — shortly after hatching, as they’re deemed useless by the industry. Kipster’s latest commitment to in-ovo sexing demonstrates its dedication to transparency and continually improving animal welfare.
– Leah Garcés, CEO and president, Mercy For Animals

“We are encouraged when producers, like Kipster, take innovative approaches towards improving animal welfare. By embracing technology to determine the sex of chicks before they hatch, egg producers can avoid the current practice of killing day-old male chicks, thus reducing animal suffering.”
– Karla Dumas, Vice President, Farm Animal Protection, The Humane Society of the United States

“The introduction of in-ovo sexing technology will allow specialty egg producers to create a new value-added category of more ethical eggs that will be massively successful in the market. Cost-effective technological solutions to major challenges like chick culling are critical to modernizing the US egg supply chain, and restoring consumer trust in animal agriculture. We applaud Kipster for continuing to demonstrate their leadership in the egg industry by being one of the first producers to use this technology in the US.”
– Robert Yaman, CEO, Innovate Animal Ag

“Each year, at just one day old, billions of male chicks are killed without a second thought—deemed a “by-product” by the egg industry. Years ago, The Humane League was instrumental in encouraging United Egg Producers to ban this practice that had become the standard in all commercial egg production. With alternative methods available, we’re eager to see male chick culling come to an end once and for all. We encourage all egg producers to adopt in-ovo sexing technologies like Kipster has to put a stop to this practice.”
– Giovana Vieira, Senior Animal Welfare Scientist, The Humane League

About Kipster
With the first farm open in October 2017 in the Netherlands, Kipster is a pioneer in sustainable and transparent farming. The company has consistently challenged conventional agriculture practices, aiming for a food system that respects farm animal welfare and minimizes environmental impact. In the U.S. the Kipster farm produces the nation’s first certified climate-neutral eggs in North Manchester, Indiana. They are currently available in 12-count egg cartons at Kroger and its other banners including City Market, Copps, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, Kings Soopers, Mariano’s, Metro Markets, Pick ‘n Save, QFC, Ralphs, Roundy’s, and Smiths in 28 states. For more information on Kipster, please visit https://www.kipster.farm.

Kipster Contacts
Kate Lowery
kate@apccollective.com
512-657-0925

Gabrielle Asadoor
gabrielle@apccollective.com
626-497-4254

Sandra Vijn
sandra@kipster.farm
215-704-9451

Washington, DC, 12/14/2022

The future of egg farming: environmentally-friendly and humane. World’s first carbon-neutral eggs drop in U.S

Kipster is a forward-thinking award-winning Dutch egg farmer. In 2017, they introduced the world’s first carbon-neutral egg to the Netherlands. Now, the eggs from the first American Kipster farm are available in Michigan and the Cincinnati area – with rapid scaling nation-wide to follow. Kipster thanks Kroger and MPS Egg Farms for partnering with Kipster to bring this revolutionary and sustainable form of egg farming to the USA.   

2. A revolutionary vision of poultry farming
By using upcycled feed, Kipster aims to avoid using land to grow crops for their chickens. “Growing crops to feed animals is an inefficient way to feed humans,” says Kipster’s Managing Director for the U.S., Sandra Vijn. “To produce eggs, you traditionally need a lot of corn and soy to feed the birds. If people ate these crops directly, we would need much less land and even have a food surplus – the planet would thank us. The current system, while considered ‘normal’, has many flaws.” Humans and farm animals should never have to compete for food.

“Choosing Simple Truth + Kipster cage-free eggs is an easy way for our customers to help create a more sustainable food system,” says Denise Osterhues, Kroger’s senior director of Sustainability and Social Impact. “The Kipster system aligns with Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste social and environmental impact plan and mission to advance positive changes for people and our planet. We focus on advancing sustainability and animal welfare in ways that also help maintain access to fresh, affordable foods for everyone.”

4. Better animal welfare
In close collaboration with scientists and animal welfare organizations, the Kipster Farm was designed for chickens and their needs. Layer hens are forest birds, and the farm is set up for them to carry out their natural behaviors.

The farm’s futuristic form follows its function of allowing chickens to roam outside or in an indoor playground filled with daylight and fresh air. With such a varied and enriched environment, beaks do not need to be trimmed.

“Kipster’s egg farming model offers extraordinary transparency and a holistic commitment to animals’ wellbeing that the public is seeking and which animals deserve,” says Nancy Roulston, senior director of corporate policy and animal science, ASPCA Farm Animal Welfare. “The ASPCA applauds Kipster’s innovative work to prove that higher welfare, sustainable farming can be achieved at scale, and we are proud to include their eggs on our Shop With Your Heart list.”

The egg cartons bear the Certified Humane® logo and are recognized by Shop With Your Heart®, a program by the ASPCA® that helps shoppers identify and find more humane groceries.

5. Raising roosters
Whether eggs are organic, free-range, or cage-free, the same number of laying hens and roosters are born every day in the world of egg farming. The male chicks born into the system are an unwanted byproduct because they – obviously – can’t lay eggs. Around 300 million one-day-old roosters are killed every year in the U.S. At Kipster, the brothers of the layers are raised in more friendly homes before being sent to a slaughterhouse for human consumption.

6. Clean air
The Kipster farm is the first in the U.S. to wash the air that leaves the barns. This removes dust, odor, ammonia, and other undesirable particles. Before the air leaves the barn, its heat is recovered by a heat pump which preheats incoming fresh air. Combined with the innovative ventilation system in the barn this lowers emissions significantly and creates a better in-house climate for both farmer and bird.

7. Unparalleled transparency
There is a 24/7 livestream of the Kipster farm. Anyone can watch the hens online. Kipster has nothing to hide. Drop by and visit the farm visitor center – complete with small exhibition.

Where to buy?
Kipster Eggs are sold co-branded with Kroger’s label as Simple Truth + Kipster. The eggs are now available in the Cincinnati area and in Michigan. With more farms now being built in the U.S., Kipster eggs will be available in more places beginning in late spring 2023.

Contact and guided tours
Sandra Vijn, Managing Director Kipster U.S.
sandra@kipster.farm
+1 215-704-9451

Washington, DC, 10/03/2022

Kipster is ending the habit of culling male chicks by letting the brothers of egg-layers grow up to become an alternative meat source

In the U.S. alone, around 300 million male chicks are killed every year in the egg industry. It’s basic biology: when layer hens are born, an equal number of roosters are also destined to hatch. Unfortunately, these male chicks are discarded as if they are worthless since they do not – obviously – lay eggs. They are also leaner and do not gain weight as efficiently as their cousins in the meat industry. So, they are killed.

Part of egg production
It is an inconvenient truth that 50% of all newborn chicks in the U.S. are killed as part of egg production. In the coming weeks, the first Kipster roosters will reach 15 weeks of age (traditional meat broilers live around 6 weeks). These American roosters will then be processed into meat products for humans. Kipster, a newcomer to the U.S. egg market, is not willing to wait until technological solutions become available that can identify and kill males while they are still in the egg. Instead, they are raising them. Sandra Vijn, Kipster: “We are taking our responsibility now. We let the roosters live. If people choose to eat chicken, then why not the rooster brothers of our hens? As a result, fewer broilers will be needed for meat.”

Untapped source of protein
Roosters and spent hens from egg farmers are an untapped source of meat. Layer hens become meat after around 90 weeks after their laying period ends. One pound of rooster and hen meat can replace one pound of broiler meat.  Nancy Roulston, Senior Director of Corporate Policy and Animal Science, ASPCA®: “The conventional egg industry has justified everything from immobilizing hens in cages to destroying millions of newborn chicks as the cost of doing business. Kipster’s welfare-centered approach to egg production shows that suffering is not an inevitability when businesses marry compassion with innovation. The ASPCA hopes that food companies recognize the incredible opportunity Kipster offers to improve animal welfare in their supply chains.”

Why do we not eat hens?
The layer is a marathon runner: she needs to lay as many eggs as possible for as long as possible. Broilers are more sprinters: they need to gain as much weight as possible in the least amount of time. Layers and roosters carry little meat on their bones. That makes meat from the egg industry considerably more expensive. However: waste not, want not… Dr. Hillary Dalton, Senior Research Manager, Compassion in World Farming: “Currently almost all male layer chicks in the United States are placed in a macerator immediately after hatching, where they are ground up and killed. Their painful and inhumane deaths represent an immense amount of unnecessary suffering and a waste of resources to incubate millions of eggs of unwanted male chicks. Compassion in World Farming USA believes both male roosters and laying hens deserve the opportunity to have full and enriched lives. We are thrilled to see Kipster’s expansion into the United States and their pioneering efforts to eliminate the greatest welfare and waste problems in the U.S. laying hen industry.”

Game-changer
As a game-changing system for egg production, Kipster combines a whole range of first-ever innovations on their farms besides eliminating male chick culling:

  • The barn design is centered around the instincts and needs of the chicken
  • The eggs are carbon neutral
  • The chickens eat feed that includes a large amount of upcycled food products, with minimal environmental impact, and limited competition with human food

Note for editors
Please contact
Sandra Vijn, Chief Farm Officer, Kipster U.S.
sandra@kipster.farm
+1 215 704 9451

Washington, DC, 09/04/2022

Very first Kipster chicks hatched on U.S. soil. Americans can start saying hello to carbon-neutral eggs and meat

What makes Kipster a new chapter in sustainable egg farming? It comes down to three core innovations:

  • Improving well-being
  • Closing cycles
  • Raising Roosters

Improving well-being
Our farms are designed around the chicken’s instincts and needs. We see chickens as beings with desires and feelings – they both suffer and enjoy. Chickens are forest birds, which means they’re not fans of open plains and they hate rain. That’s why we created a natural-like wooded environment – both indoors and outdoors – with plenty of variety, daylight, fresh air and free-range foraging space. The park is fenced and netted off to keep out hungry predators and bird flu carriers.

Closing cycles
Our chickens eat specially developed feed made of safe by-products from food manufacturing, such as from large bakeries. In fact, our feathery friends upcycle these food production remains into new valuable proteins for people. In this way, we bypass using agricultural land and we don’t need to plough up any more native grasslands or forests for feeding our animals. The CO2 footprint of this feed is 50% less than standard chicken feed. But this is only part of what helps us achieve a carbon-neutral egg. We also use solar panels to power our farms and treat the chicken litter. And to achieve full carbon neutrality, we compensate for any extra emissions. (Meanwhile, as we get started in the U.S., our roosters will begin with a regular chicken diet. However, over time, we will reduce our environmental footprint by moving away from using soy and corn.)

Raising Roosters
It’s a boy! As biological law goes, half of the hatched eggs will be girls and half will be boys. We keep both: the hens to lay eggs and the roosters for meat. By raising the brothers of the layers, we go off the beaten track. We think it’s our ethical duty to do this. As National Geographic puts it: It’s one of the most jaw-dropping, least-known facts of American food production: to keep the egg industry running efficiently, hatcheries kill hundreds of millions of newborn male chicks every year.”

Stay tuned
In early 2023, Kipster carbon-neutral eggs and meat products will be available in limited quantities on U.S. retail shelves.

We are thankful for our partners MPS Egg Farms and The Kroger Company who are working closely with us to make this happen. Kipster has also received welcome guidance from animal welfare organizations like the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) and others as we get off the ground in the U.S.

More information?
Please contact
Sandra Vijn, Chief Farm Officer, Kipster U.S.
sandra@kipster.farm
+1 215 704 9451

Kipster Farm
800 Wabash Rd
North Manchester, IN 46962

email: egg@kipster.farm

Hi – What can I do to help? Please don’t hesitate to send me a message.

I’m Sandra Vijn, Chief Farm Officer in the US. I grew up on a small tulip farm in the Netherlands. I have worked in the sustainable agriculture space in the US for many years. I left World Wildlife Fund in April and joined the Kipster team to lead the enterprise.

Kipster is operated by MPS Egg Farms