Hens are being fed insects to produce the first carbon neutral eggs sold by a supermarket.

Morrisons new carbon neutral ‘Planet Friendly Eggs’ come from farms where hens are fed a soya-free diet of insects - which are in turn fed on food waste from its bakery, fruit and vegetable sites.

An insect ‘mini farm’ was introduced onto the egg farm to feed the hens. The ‘mini farm’ container, in which millions of insects are kept, was developed and powered by Better Origin. Each container can help feed 32,000 free range hens and receives three tonnes 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.

This pioneering ‘circular waste’ feeding scheme reduces deforestation caused by soya production and negates the carbon emissions emitted from transporting this soya.

READ NEXT: Egg prices must rise as rocketing costs spell crisis say farmers

The egg farm where the first stock of Planet Friendly Eggs originated also has a large wind turbine, 50kWh solar panels, and a carbon sequestration programme to offset any remaining emissions on the farm - with 20 percent of its land planted with trees.

The University of Cambridge has confirmed the carbon neutral status of the eggs. Its report considers the holistic production of the eggs, including the Better Origin X1 insect growing unit and food waste transport, the sourcing of locally grown grain and the hen housing and care.

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.”

Morrisons has been working with its farmers to create net zero carbon farm ‘models’ that look at neutralising emissions through the whole lifecycle and footprint of the farm.

Planet Friendly eggs are the first product to come out of these models, with sustainable beef, lamb and fruit and vegetables to follow.