Fancy a bone meal burger? Start-up transforms animal bones into sustainable delicacies

Picture: Inka Liljeström via Superground

Picture: Inka Liljeström via Superground

Published Feb 2, 2024


Finnish start-up SuperGround has revolutionised food production by introducing a pioneering method that repurposes animal bones and hard tissues into delectable, sustainable food products.

The technique not only reduces food waste but also addresses carbon emissions, marking a significant eco-friendly innovation in the food industry.

SuperGround's technique, devised by founder Santtu Vekkeli, creates a versatile paste from ground chicken and fish parts. This paste retains most of the meat's nutrients, including heat-sensitive vitamins, and seamlessly integrates into familiar products like chicken nuggets and fish cakes.

Addressing the traditional waste associated with animal mass, particularly bones, SuperGround's method converts approximately 20% of poultry's mass, primarily hard tissue, into a usable form. This not only reduces food waste but also cuts CO2 emissions by increasing food yield by 20% to 70%.

Positioned as a practical solution within existing consumer habits, SuperGround's innovation requires no major changes in buying patterns. While acknowledging it isn't a complete solution for sustainability, the concept represents a significant step forward.

SuperGround claims that its process can yield 30-60% more from fish and 30% more food from chicken, reducing the strain on resources. The hybrid meat resulting from this method also has the potential to cut CO2 emissions per kilogram of food by up to 40%.

Addressing concerns regarding the product being “too processed,” SuperGround reassures consumers that their method involves only heat, pressure, and mechanical shear forces. The resulting product maintains a natural mouthfeel, indistinguishable from the entire product, without any hard bone particles.

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), animal agriculture generates over 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. This is more than the exhaust emissions from the world’s cars, trucks, planes, and ships combined.

A recent study published in Nature Food found that 57% of all global greenhouse gas emissions attributable to food production correspond to the production of animal-based food.