Morrisons claims insect-eating chickens will produce carbon neutral eggs

2 August 2022

Supermarket Morrisons is claiming a first with the launch of range of  “carbon neutral” eggs. 

The company said chickens were raised on a soya-free diet, while the farm has a wind turbine, solar panels, and a carbon offsetting programme.

Instead of soya, which has a carbon impact involving forest clearance and transport, the chickens are reared on insects. The insects, bred on a “mini farm”, are fed on food waste from Morrisons’ bakery, and fruit and vegetable sites using technology from start-up Better Origin.

Sophie Throup, head of agriculture at Morrisons, said: “This is our first carbon neutral product and there will be many more to come. It’s all part of our drive to be directly supplied only by ‘zero emission’ British farms by 2030.”

A spokesperson for Better Origin told Supply Management: “In the case of Morrisons, we're taking care of their fruit, veg, and bakery waste. By diverting it from landfill, we significantly reduce the emissions that would have come from it. 

“This food waste is processed inside the container into a feed for insects. They grow up to 5,000 times their body mass in the span of a few weeks and become a rich source of protein for farm animals. 

“The next chunk of the carbon saving comes from the fact that they replace traditional feeds such as soy, which is the second largest contributor to deforestation in South America. Moreover, by growing the feed right on the farm, we can reduce the UK's reliance on imported grains and promote food security.”

A report from the University of Cambridge, which looked at the production of the eggs, including the insect growing unit, food waste transport, sourcing of locally-grown grain and hen housing and care, showed they were carbon neutral.

The report said: “The key insight from this report is that carbon negative eggs seem to be possible, however they require systemic change across multiple farm variables, beyond the sole use of the Better Origins Ltd X1 container, which remains a key reduction solution.

“Feed represents approximately 80% of the impact of eggs, which is why Morrison’s should encourage its farms to use low carbon feed options whenever possible, therefore rations that include the least amount of soy possible, and preferred feed alternatives, including organic feed, feed coming from countries with stricter agriculture guidance, such as the UK or the EU.”

The free range eggs will initially be available in 50 Yorkshire stores, and Morrisons' new lower environmental impact store in Little Clacton, Essex, with a national rollout planned for 2023. They cost 30p each or £1.50 for a pack of six.

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