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Morrisons to sell carbon-neutral eggs from hens fed by Cambridge start-up Better Origin’s insect farms



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A new line of “carbon neutral” eggs from hens fed on insects reared on food waste by Cambridge start-up company Better Origin have gone on sale at Morrisons.

The supermarket said it was the first to launch the “planet-friendly” eggs.

Morrisons has become the first supermarket to launch its own line of carbon-neutral eggs. Picture: Lucy Ray/PA (58382315)
Morrisons has become the first supermarket to launch its own line of carbon-neutral eggs. Picture: Lucy Ray/PA (58382315)

A report by the University of Cambridge, examining the full production, including the insect growing unit, food waste transport, sourcing of locally-grown grain and hen housing and care, has proved they are carbon neutral.

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.

“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’re thrilled that, after 18 months of hard work with our farmers, these eggs are finally hitting our shelves.”

Fotis Fotiadis, CEO of Better Origin
Fotis Fotiadis, CEO of Better Origin

Better Origin, based at the Allia Future Business Centre in King’s Hedges Road, Cambridge, is supplying 10 insect mini farms to Morrisons UK free-range egg farms.

The plan is to eliminate soya on these farms by feeding hens with live insects and a supplementary diet using other local sources of protein.

In this world-first supermarket-driven circular system, the insects are grown on food waste from Morrisons’ own bakery, fruit and vegetable site and then fed to the hens.

Better Origin said the 10 X1 containers it is supplying will save 5,737 tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent (CO²-eq) emissions per year – the same as taking 1,240 cars off the road - and will mitigate 1,500 tonnes of food waste per year.

Feeding hens on insect larvae
Feeding hens on insect larvae

“Our vision is for the initial rollout to scale across all Morrisons egg farms which would reduce 33,000 tonnes of CO²-eq per year,” said Better Origin founder Fotis Fotiadis.

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

[Read more: Better Origin raises $16m for X1 insect mini-farm to transform the food sector]

The supermarket said insects are a natural part of chickens’ ancestral diet and have no negative impact on the quality, shelf life or taste of the eggs.

Cutting out the soya, meanwhile, avoids the emissions associated with clearing forests and other land to grow the crop in places such as Brazil, and the transport pollution from shipping the feed.

Allison Audsley holds a ‘Planet Friendly Egg’ at a branch of Morrisons near Hull. Picture: Lucy Ray/PA (58382313)
Allison Audsley holds a ‘Planet Friendly Egg’ at a branch of Morrisons near Hull. Picture: Lucy Ray/PA (58382313)

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 farm where the first stock of planet-friendly eggs originates has a large wind turbine, solar panels and a programme to offset any remaining emissions on the farm, with a fifth of its land planted with trees.

Better Origin CEO Fotis Fotiadis and CSO Miha Pipan. Picture: Paul Clarke Photographer
Better Origin CEO Fotis Fotiadis and CSO Miha Pipan. Picture: Paul Clarke Photographer

The 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 and will be the first to feature the British Lion Egg green stamp, indicating the lower environmental impact to customers.

Better Origin's insect larvae
Better Origin's insect larvae

The retailer hopes sustainable beef, lamb, fruit and vegetables from net zero carbon farms will follow.



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