Leading UK supermarket chain Morrisons has announced it will offer a new range of ‘carbon neutral’ eggs by feeding hens a soya-free diet.

Hens laying the eggs would be fed a soya-free diet including insects fed on food scraps from the company’s bakery, fruit and vegetable sites, Morrisons said on 2 August.

This would cut emissions associated with large-scale deforestation to grow the crop and reduced transport pollution from shipping the feed, the company said.

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

Each ‘mini farm’ container could help feed 32,000 free range hens and received three tonnes/week of waste from the supermarket’s fruit and vegetable sites. The insects could grow to 5,000 times their initial body mass in less than 14 days.

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

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

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

A report by the University of Cambridge, which looked at factors including care of the hens and production of the eggs, confirmed that the product was carbon neutral.

The free-range eggs will initially be available in 50 stores in Yorkshire and at a lower environmental impact store in Little Clacton, Essex.