From feeding insects to chickens to tracking produce, a range of options aim to curb appetite for soya that harms the environment
Who uses soya and why?
Nearly all soya is used by the farming sector as a livestock feed for chickens, pigs and other animals. The biggest users are chicken producers; soya makes up around a quarter of the diet of birds. It has been the cheapest source of protein poultry available to farmers since the ban on meat and bonemeal after BSE. Soya remains key to producing fast-growing, low-priced chickens.
Can’t they use alternatives to soya?
Alternatives such as lentils or other legumes are more expensive and less available to farmers. Some poultry farmers have been experimenting with adding black soldier fly larvae to the diets of their birds, with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimating that insects could replace between 25 and 100% of soymeal for chickens. However, at present insects are seen as a supplement, rather than a replacement, for soya.