Morrisons digs for insects in chicken feed to incubate carbon neutral eggs

Supermarket chain Wm Morrison is replacing soy-based chicken feed with insects to produce “neutral” carbon-free eggs, as part of its efforts to reduce CO2 emissions from its agricultural supply chain. surname.

Cambridge start-up Better Origin will feed small insect farms to 10 egg suppliers to the UK’s fourth-largest grocer, the retailer said on Wednesday. .

Automated farms housed in shipping containers are powered by artificial intelligence and will produce insects fed with waste from Morrisons’ fruit and vegetable processing area in Yorkshire in a scheme of “circular agriculture” “.

320,000 free-range hens on 10 farms will also be fed a supplemental diet of peas, peas and sunflower seeds. Morrisons aims to start selling carbon-neutral eggs laid by insect chickens next year, although the price is yet to be determined.

Insects are a natural food for chickens, but keeping chickens indoors means that most of the food is soy and grains. Environmental campaigners have linked Soybean in chicken feed to deforestation of the Amazon as well as the destruction of biodiversity hotspots in Brazil.

According to the British Free-range Egg Producers Association, the biggest contributor to emissions on free-range egg farms is feed, which often produces more 85% the carbon footprint of an egg.

Morrisons’ announcement comes as Stonegate Farmers in Wiltshire last month launched carbon-neutral Respectful eggs at J Sainsbury’s stores. The hen is a high-yielding breed of chicken that is fed soy-free feed made from locally milled beans, such as lupines, chickpeas and peas.

Sophie Thgroup, Morrisons’ head of agriculture, said the supermarket chain had committed to being supplied entirely by UK farms with “net zero” by 2030. The retailer recently launched a new one. seaweed feed project cows to cut methane emissions, and she said the retailer’s egg farmers have suggested using insects to cut down on soy for hens.

“Reducing soybeans from animal feed is one of the key challenges facing farms that need to reduce their carbon footprint, and we want to help find a solution,” she added.

Fotis Fotiadis, chief executive officer of Better Origin, says that his ambition is to roll out the insect project on all 60 Morrisons egg farms, which will reduce just under 35,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, equivalent to deflation. emissions of 16,500 cars. Better Origins’ on-site insect farms have reduced the need to transport and maintain the nutrition of black soldier fly larvae fed to hens, Fotiadis adds.

Learn have shown that feeding chickens with insects, which are rich in essential proteins and other nutrients, is beneficial to the health of the chickens while reducing behavioral problems.

Insects can replace grains, soybeans, fish and vegetable oils in animal and fish pellets, providing essential protein and other nutrients. They can be raised on organic agricultural waste and with minimal water.

EU in September approved the use of insect protein in poultry and swine feed, in addition to its use as fish feed. The move follows the EU’s food safety regulator notification At the start of this year, the golden filara was safe for humans, although the insect’s use in human food in the west is still a niche area.

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