Sainsbury's through its Innovation Fund has agreed to a substantial grant to ADAS, UK consultants of rural development and environmental services, for research into broiler feeds.
The company hopes to look into the potential of using greater amounts of domestically grown rapeseed meal, in place of soya bean meal inside broiler feeds. The reasoning for this is to hopefuly lessen the environmental impact of producing broiler feeds and to improve the sustainability of poultry meat production, without compromising productivity or welfare.
A statement release by the company said"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."
"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)."
The consultancy company ADAS will work together with other commercial partners in Sainsbury's supplier network. They will focus on topics including feed production, diet formulation along with broiler production and processing. The research will also make use of a taste and palatability panel, as well as poultry nutritional analysts.
The research performed by ADAS will fit in well with Sainsbury's 20x20 Sustainability Plan. The plan states to make a commitment to source all main raw material of the feeds in a sustainable fashion and to help reduce global deforestation and other negative environmental impacts.
"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," the statement continued.
"It could have far reaching implications for the sustainable feeding of broilers in the UK and beyond."