Insect-fed hens

Following on from the examination of feeding animals waste, researchers at Reading University, have looked at how consumers would look upon eggs from hens fed insect protein.

Eating insects is a natural behaviour of chickens, and, since 2017, the EU has allowed the feeding of live insects to poultry.

In Europe, some insect-fed animal foodstuffs, such as Oerei egg in the Netherlands, are already on offer.

Work in France and Hungary showed disgust, and avoidance of any new and novel foodstuff, were main reasons for refusal to accept insect-fed animal products.

Using live insect-fed instead of soya meal may reduce deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions.

The Reading work found that UK consumers have positive attitudes to eggs from insect-fed hens. This appears to be driven by environmental, animal welfare and food waste benefits.

Whether consumers are willing to pay a premium price for such eggs was not clearly identified.

It was concluded that, in order to encourage consumer consumption, eggs from insect-fed hens should be produced and marketed under enhanced animals welfare standards.