Hens will be fed insects to lay carbon-neutral eggs for Morrisons

Chickens’ diet cuts emissions linked to soya feed, while retailer’s food waste will fuel ‘bug farms’

Morrisons will offer consumers the first “carbon-neutral” eggs to be produced by feeding hens insects raised on food waste from the company’s supermarkets.

Chickens laying the eggs will have a soya-free diet including insects fed on food scraps from the retailer’s bakery, fruit and vegetable sites.

Cutting out soya avoids the emissions associated with large-scale deforestation to grow the crop in places such as Brazil – and transport pollution from shipping the feed.

As part of Morrisons’ drive to be directly supplied by zero-emissions British farms by 2030, insect “mini farm” containers have been installed at egg suppliers in Yorkshire by the Cambridge-based start-up Better Origin.

The farm that will supply the first of the planet-friendly eggs has a wind turbine and solar panels and will offset emissions at the facility by planting trees, the supermarket chain said.

Morrisons said insects are a normal part of a chicken’s diet and their new regime will not affect the quality or taste of the eggs they produce.

A report by the University of Cambridgewhich looked at factors including care of the hens and production of the eggs confirmed that the product is carbon neutral.

Rival supermarket Sainsbury’s also stocks “carbon neutral” eggs by the brand Respectful, but the hens are fed with field beans rather than insects.

Sophie Throup, head of agriculture at Morrisons, said: “This is our first carbon-neutral product and there will be many more to come.

“We know our customers consider the environmental impact of the food they eat and want affordable zero-emission produce.

“Eggs are a regular weekly purchase for most households and so we are thrilled that, after 18 months of hard work with our farmers, these eggs are finally hitting our shelves.”

Experts have long encouraged consumers to incorporate insects into western diets for health reasons and because they have a significantly lower carbon footprint than meat production.

There has not been a major change to consumers’ diets, but research suggests that using insects in the food production process could be an effective way to lower carbon emissions.

Sign up to the daily Business Today email or follow Guardian Business on Twitter at @BusinessDesk

Ian Bamford, commercial director of the Centre for Industrial Sustainability at the University of Cambridge, said: “We were very pleased to have the opportunity to review and analyse the approach that Morrisons have taken to calculating the carbon impact of several of their egg producers.

“It was clear that the mitigation actions that had been put in place by the first farm to produce carbon-neutral eggs enabled them to meet that goal.”

The free-range eggs will initially be available in 50 Yorkshire stores and a lower environmental impact store in Little Clacton, Essex, at a cost of 30p each or £1.50 for a pack of six.

Contributor

Joe Middleton

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Morrisons puts Marmite price up 12.5%
Supermarket charges £2.64, up from £2.35, for 250g jar as supplier Unilever blames fall in pound for rising prices

Sarah Butler and Julia Kollewe

28, Oct, 2016 @7:00 PM

Article image
Asda and Morrisons ration fresh produce including tomatoes and peppers
Shortages caused by bad weather in southern Europe will be compounded by big fall in salad production in UK

Sarah Butler and Joanna Partridge

21, Feb, 2023 @3:45 PM

Article image
Morrisons gives food banks £10m during coronavirus outbreak
Supermarket lifts restrictions and reopens cafes as depots to allow customers to donate

Rebecca Smithers

29, Mar, 2020 @11:01 PM

Article image
Sainsbury's in £1bn investment to become carbon neutral by 2040
Retailer’s plans include cutting down on waste and a plastic bottle deposit scheme

Joanna Partridge

28, Jan, 2020 @12:01 AM

Article image
‘Use the sniff test’: Morrisons to scrap use by dates from milk packaging
Supermarket hopes to stop hundreds of millions of pints being wasted as charities call for other retailers to remove date labels

Jasper Jolly

09, Jan, 2022 @1:19 PM

Article image
Morrisons to cut 1,500 management roles
Supermarket to have fewer managers and more staff on shop floor and tills to save costs

Sarah Butler

01, Feb, 2018 @1:15 PM

Article image
Morrisons' indignation over shareholder rebellion is misplaced | Nils Pratley
If the supermarket wants investors to back its executives’ pay, it shouldn’t annoy them with a top-up that looks greedy

Nils Pratley

16, Jun, 2017 @6:18 AM

Article image
Morrisons boss hands back £600,000 in bonuses
Chief executive says business could have done better, but still pockets £4.6m

Sarah Butler

15, May, 2019 @6:36 PM

Article image
Morrisons mistakenly lists £2.50 whisky
The retailer identified the pricing error on its website before any bottles were sold

Jamie Grierson

16, Jun, 2022 @3:18 PM

Article image
Morrisons to slash petrol price to below £1
Conditional 10p cut for grocery shoppers could trigger price war among UK’s supermarkets in run-up to Christmas

Angela Monaghan

20, Nov, 2016 @12:39 PM