Insect-based feeds for farmed animals could help the UK reach its net zero carbon emissions target, researchers say.
Emissions from agriculture are among the issues that must be tackled if the UK is to reach its 2050 target, and insect-based feeds offer a promising method to feed animals in a sustainable, low-carbon way.
A project led by Entec Nutrition - set up by two University of Exeter scientists - has won a £250,000 grant from the Innovate UK's "transforming food production" scheme to explore the science behind insect-based feeds.
The team, which includes food research organisation Campden BRI, will work on efficient insect production for the poultry and aquaculture (fish farming) industries.
"We are thrilled to have won this Innovate UK grant with our research partners," said Dr Olivia Champion, who co-founded Entec Nutrition with University of Exeter colleague Professor Richard Titball.
"It's really exciting for Entec Nutrition to form part of the UK's clean innovation solutions to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
"The funding will allow us to explore methods for low-energy production of insects to lower the cost of production and the environmental impact of the feed industry."
As population levels rise, it is expected that fish and poultry consumption will increase, generating a greater demand for animal feedstocks, and therefore animal-feed ingredients.
The global feed industry is energy-intensive, reliant on international imports, at risk of commodity price hikes, and associated with deforestation.
The UK therefore needs to increase feed production resilience to move fish and poultry production towards a sustainable and productive future.