UK supermarket, Sainbury’s has offered substantial funding from its Innovation Fund to Agricultural consulant ADAS to examine the extent to which higher levels of UK-produced rapeseed meal can be substituted for soya bean meal in broiler diets.
The aim is to reduce the environmental impact and improve the sustainability of poultry meat production, without compromising productivity or welfare, Poultry World reports.
"The project addresses concerns about the continuing use of imported soya bean meal due to the potential negative environmental impact of production in third countries, as well as the scarcity of supply of non-GM soya bean meal," said a statement.
"It is hoped that this work could act as a springboard to further replacement of soya bean meal by other UK-sourced, non-GM materials such as peas, beans, and distillers dried grains and solubles (DDGS)."
ADAS will work closely with a number of commercial partners within Sainsbury's supplier network, covering broiler production and processing, diet formulation and feed production. It will also involve a taste panel and nutritional analysts.
The project fits well with Sainsbury's 20x20 Sustainability Plan, which includes a commitment to source all key raw materials sustainably and to help reduce global deforestation.
"Whilst the UK is a relatively minor player in the global production of broilers, the results from this research could prove that alternative feed rations, which reduce reliance on non-sustainable soya bean meal, are possible," said the statement. "It could have far reaching implications for the sustainable feeding of broilers in the UK and beyond."
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