Morrisons will reduce the use of soya feed at 10 of its free range egg farms as it works towards becoming the first supermarket to launch own-brand carbon neutral eggs in 2022.
New Better Origin insect ‘mini farms’ will be introduced onto the UK egg farms to feed the hens, who will also receive a supplementary diet of British beans, peas and sunflower seeds.
The ‘mini farm’ containers, in which millions of insects are kept, will provide nutrient rich and natural food for the hens.
The insects will be fed on waste from Morrisons own fruit and veg site in Yorkshire - creating one of the UK’s first ‘circular waste’ feeding schemes within the same company to produce food.
Over 30t of fruit and veg waste will be recycled each week.
Morrisons expects the first carbon neutral eggs to arrive on its shelves in 2022.
This will be followed by carbon neutral options for fruit, vegetables and meat in the coming years as a result of its commitment to be supplied only by net zero British farms by 2030.
The insect units have been developed by agritech company Better Origin.
Each container can help feed 32,000 free range hens and will receive 3t of waste from Morrisons fruit and vegetable site each week.
The insects can grow to 5,000 times their initial body mass in less than 14 days. Collectively the 10 containers will feed 320,000 free range hens who lay millions of eggs a year.
Sophie Throup, head of agriculture at Morrisons, said:
“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.
An insect diet could suit our hens better - they seem to enjoy it - and the nutritional and added health benefits are notable.
"We’re also finding a good home for our fruit and veg waste. We think that this could be part of the future of egg farming.”