A new ingredient could soon make its way into poultry and pig feed and could reduce the UK’s dependence on soya import by 20% by 2050. This report on insect animal feed by the WWF encourages the addition of insect protein into animal feed. The study also found that British producers could themselves supply 50% of the protein demand.
A million tons of soya was required for the livestock farms of the UK in 2019. And estimates reveal that their use has been directly linked to large-scale deforestation. Soya has been a subject of controversy due to its link to the destruction of South American forests.
The manager of forest commodities at the WWF, Mollie Gupta said that the first-ever quantification of the benefits of insect animal feed. For a year and a half, WWF has been studying ways to reduce the dependency on soya imports. She said that reports that it could bring it down by a fifth were significant.
Legislative Barriers Remain For Insect Animal Feed
There are major hurdles still to be overcome before the project makes any headway on the ground. The major barrier would be legislative ones. Animal feed rules specifically lay down the ingredients of cattle and poultry feed and another set of rules that define who can consume the produce.
The report has extolled the virtues of insect animal feed and called on the government to take measures to introduce it to the market. The EU is already set to introduce insect feed by this summer.
Entocycle’s Keiran Whitaker, which manufactures products from black soldier fly said that this was a prime opportunity to introduce legislative measures that would enable the UK to become a leading producer of insect protein and become sustainable while attracting foreign talent and investment.
Gupta said that it was vital that the government support the insect feed industry and convey the benefits of using it.
Entocycle has been funded by Tesco, based on the reports by the WWF. The company has introduced AgriGrub, a startup to develop black soldier fly products, to suppliers for product trials and supply of the feedstock. Tesco product officer Ashwin Prasad said that the plan was to introduce the insect animal feed in small quantities initially and gradually ramp up production.