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Morrisons enlists insects in mission to produce carbon neutral eggs

North Yorkshire poultry farmer Matthew is taking part in the initiative.

Morrisons has announced plans to feed insects to hens, as an alternative to soya, as part of its mission to produce carbon neutral eggs in 2022.

The supermarket chain is installing insect mini farms, developed by agri-technology company Better Origin, on 10 of its free-range egg units.

The insects will be fed more than 30 tonnes of waste each week from Morrisons’ fruit and vegetable site in Yorkshire – a move the retailer claims will create one of the UK’s first circular waste feeding schemes.

Morrisons estimates that 70% of the emissions from the UK’s supply chain for chicken is attributed to feed, with soya making up 10-20% of hen’s normal diets.

It says reducing soya and introducing insects to the hens’ rations on the 10 farms taking part in the initiative is expected to save just over 138 acres of South American land – where half of the world’s soybean is currently farmed – from deforestation each year.

It will also reduce CO2 emissions in the supply chain by 5,737 tonnes and save 40 billion litres of water every year.

Morrisons head of agriculture, Sophie Throup, said the initiative could signal the future of egg farming in the UK.

“Reducing soya from livestock feed is one of the key challenges for farms needing to lower their carbon footprint and we wanted to help find a solution,” added Ms Troup.

“An insect diet could suit our hens better – they seem to enjoy it – and the nutritional and added health benefits are notable.”

Each of the insect mini farms will transform three tonnes of fruit and vegetables waste per week into enough feed for 32,000 free-range hens.

The insect mini farms will be installed on 10 of the free-range egg farms which supply Morrisons.

Better Origin founder and chief executive officer, Fotis Fotiadis, said: “We are delighted to be working with Morrisons to decarbonise their food supply chain and reduce soya reliance.

“Our vision is for the initial rollout to scale across all Morrisons egg farms, which would reduce 40,180 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year.”

He added: “Achieving net-zero is a massive challenge that needs collaboration and determination, and we hope this is the year that more food providers and producers take meaningful action.”

Morrisons’ mission to produce carbon neutral eggs forms part of a wider mission to produce other carbon neutral food products, including fruit, vegetables and meat.

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