UK – Morrisons, one of the UK’s leading supermarkets, has partnered with Sea Forest, a science-based environmental technology company, to introduce a seaweed-based livestock feed to reduce beef cattle’s greenhouse gas emissions. 

This initiative is part of Morrisons’ commitment to achieving net zero agriculture emissions from its directly supplied farms by 2030.

Sea Forest, recognized as an Earthshot finalist, will collaborate with Myton Food Group, Morrisons’ manufacturing arm, to supply SeaFeed, a methane-abating livestock feed. 

The introduction of SeaFeed is expected to fast-track the production of lower-carbon beef products, including mince, burgers, steaks, and joints, for Morrisons’ shelves.

Sophie Throup, Technical and Sustainability Director at Myton Food Group for Morrisons, emphasized the importance of supporting farmers in adopting sustainable practices. 

Having our own livestock experts with direct relationships with farmers enables us to make changes quickly. Once our trial is complete and we have approvals in place, we can develop our lower carbon beef products and help support the drive to lower emissions from cattle,” she said.

SeaFeed has been scientifically proven to reduce methane production when included as a small fraction (approximately 0.5%) of the animals’ diet. 

Previous collaborations by Sea Forest, such as with the Australian burger chain Gril’d, demonstrated a 67% reduction in methane emissions from grass-fed black Angus cattle without affecting the taste or quality of the beef.

Sam Elsom, CEO of Sea Forest, expressed enthusiasm about the partnership with Morrisons. “Distributing our methane-busting solution to one of the UK’s most respected retailers and food producers to reduce livestock methane emissions is a tremendous milestone for Sea Forest. SeaFeed has the potential to sustainably feed the planet while tackling one of the most challenging pieces of the climate puzzle,” he said. 

This collaboration is part of an innovative research program by Morrisons and Queen’s University Belfast, aimed at translating research on seaweed’s methane-reducing properties into practical applications. 

Professor Shaon Huws, Director of Research in the School of Biological Sciences and Institute for Global Food Security (IGF), highlighted the significance of this research in making a tangible impact on the sector and the planet’s health.

Approval for the process is underway. Morrisons intends to have lower-carbon beef products on its shelves by 2026. This initiative follows Morrisons’ milestone last year of becoming the first supermarket to introduce its carbon-neutral eggs. 

The supermarket aims to be fully supplied by net zero-carbon farms by 2030, five years ahead of its rivals.

However, the UK’s approach to emission reduction in agriculture has been criticized. The National Beef Association recently condemned the UK Government’s proposals, arguing that climate policies are overshadowing food security issues. 

They warned that reducing beef suckler herds in Scotland and Wales could lead to increased imports from countries with lower welfare and environmental standards, effectively exporting the UK’s carbon responsibilities.

In a letter to the Government, the National Beef Association urged support for enhancing the UK’s production capacity, emphasizing the need for unified carbon policies across the UK’s regions. 

They cautioned that separate climate protocols for Wales, England, Northern Ireland, and Scotland might inadvertently increase overall carbon output.

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