These days I am finding more and more that owners are, quite rightly, wanting to choose feeds and supplements that follow a more sustainable way of living.
In particular, I receive enquiries regarding ‘plastic free’ horse feed and supplement packaging regularly. But what should you be thinking about when choosing from these sorts of products in terms of the quality of feed inside the packaging? It’s all very well selecting a feed that has environmentally friendly packaging; but has the same level of thought gone into the production and nutritional specification of the product?
Most clients I work with have no idea what to look for to help tick this box. A top tip however would be to check if the feed company or supplement you use is UFAS registered. Such companies will have to follow rigorous manufacturing processes, and so is likely to be a good indicator as to the high quality of the product.
Competing under rules brings a separate set of issues. You don’t want to find that you are in breach of the rules because your feed or supplement accidentally contains a trace of naturally occurring prohibited substances. Again, if this is the case for you (even at the low levels), you should look for a feed or supplement company who is a member of BETA NOPS. Companies choose to be audited to the BETA NOPS code and if successful members can display the BETA NOPS logo on their product packaging.
Fundamentally however, the biggest challenge that I find is the items selected may not be quite right nutritionally for the horse. This sort of problem is not unique to those looking for ‘plastic free’ packaging. As I am sure you are aware it is easy to choose totally the wrong feed for your horse at the best of times. To help you get this right, I would suggest speaking to an independent nutritionist who will be able to tailor the needs of your horse, including condition, workload, temperament and clinical history across a broad range of feeds and supplements, whilst also considering that you want ‘plastic free’ packaging.
I find as a nutritionist that very often there is an easy win in the form of ‘reduction’. What is better than recyclable or paper packing; not using any at all. If your horse doesn’t really need a supplement from a nutritional perspective, then why have it present at all? Following on from that if a particular product is required it may be we can make an easy substitution. For example, if you are adding a vitamin and mineral supplement in a plastic tub could you use a balancer available in a recyclable bag instead? That is just one quick win example. As such, really do take the time to understand if the supplement you use is needed at all.
In general, more feed companies are jumping on the environmentally friendly bandwagon so the choice available is increasing all the time, which can only be a positive thing. Not only are they looking at using recyclable packaging, but also issues such as their overall carbon footprints, and manufacturing impact on the environment.
Find out more about Donna at www.thehorsefeedguru.com