The nutrition of hens laying organic eggs is carefully regulated, resulting in limited options for feed sources especially in protein feed. While insects are a part of chickens’ natural diet, the use of insect-based protein in organic chicken feed is restricted to chicks and requires a special permit.
Finnish feed manufacturer Rehux is the first in Finland to use insect protein-based raw materials in feed intended for organic laying hens.
"Insect protein is an interesting addition to the protein sources to meet the needs of the feed industry. As a Finnish feed manufacturer, it is truly exciting to produce feeds that feature an entirely new component for the Finnish market," comments Thomas Fagerholm, CEO of Rehux.
The feed features Volare’s insect-based protein produced from black soldier fly larvae using by-products from the food industry. This protein production adheres to the principles of the circular economy, minimizing waste by using food industry surplus like inedible grain components, vegetable trimmings, and by-products from beer brewing. The product can replace other animal- and soy-based proteins that require a significant amount of water, land area, and energy for production.
"Our insect-based protein is already used in pet food. Now, in collaboration with Rehux, we can offer a climate-friendly option suitable for organic chickens as well," says Jarna Hyvönen, Volare’s Chief Operating Officer.
Organic chickens are fed with insect protein at Mäntymäen Luomutila in Hyvinkää
Mäntymäen Luomutila in Hyvinkää is the first farm in Finland to use insect protein-based feed for organic laying hens.
"Insect-based protein is a natural and tasty protein feed for our hens, and its use further reduces our carbon footprint," says Virva Latostenmaa, responsible for the operation of the chicken farm at Mäntymäen Luomutila.
Mäntymäen Luomutila aims to prioritize the well-being of chickens and the first-class quality of organic eggs while considering the environment. Insect protein enables the reduction of feed emissions, resulting in a smaller carbon footprint for the eggs as well.