The Surprising Reason Some Farms Buy Defective Candy In Bulk

Imagine you're walking through the produce section of your preferred grocery store. You see the rows of shiny apples, the crisp leafy greens, the perfect squashes. Everything is pleasing to the eye, but you aren't actually seeing the full picture.

If you've had a vegetable garden or fruit trees, you know that defective produce is inevitable. That's not to say a deformed apple tastes any different from a normal-looking apple, but we just don't see these defects in stores. Only the prettiest produce is sent to your grocery store.

The same rules apply to our snack foods. One Redditor shared a photo of four Cheez-Its stuck together, for example. The crackers of course still taste the same, but these kinds of defects are usually removed prior to packaging.

So what usually happens to the defects when they are caught? In accordance with laws set by the FDA, some defective foods are deemed worthless, and sent to landfills. Other foods are deemed simply unaesthetic and are sent to food banks, claims Forbes. But did you know unaesthetic foods may also be purchased in bulk by farmers? Here's why they do it.

Saving that moo-lah

Cows may not be able to see every color of the rainbow, but they can still certainly taste it. According to Eater, cattle farmers routinely buy bulk defective candies (like Skittles) to feed their livestock. While cows may or may not have a sweet tooth, they're getting these sweets for a different reason — to save money.

Droughts over the last decade have caused the cost of corn and other feed to skyrocket, Reuters notes. Large livestock require massive quantities of feed, which can get very expensive very quickly. Because corn is also high in sugar content, candies are a suitable feed substitution for ruminant animals (like cows) who can digest them.

But it doesn't stop at just defective candies. In addition to Skittles, cows are also fed sugary treats like gummies and marshmallows. According to a Penn State study, farmers may also feed their cows doughnuts to meet carb requirements. Cows apparently eat Kool Aid mix, too, as well as other... interesting items, like citrus pulps and all sorts of byproducts from other farm animals.