Startups providing an eco-friendly and nutritious protein alternative to feed both humans and animals
Entomophagy, the act of eating insects, can change substantially the impact that food production is doing to our ecosystem in the next years. According to the UN, the global population is going to increase by 2 billion in 2050 and food demand is expected to increase as high as 70%. Not only demand to feed people but animals too. A UCLA(University of California, Los Angeles) study found that dogs and cats are responsible for a quarter of the greenhouse gas emissions caused by animal agriculture in the US.
Insects consist of almost 60% protein, while chicken 43% and beef 54%. They are also high in iron, zinc and vitamin B12. Crickets, in particular, are considered a superfood. It has more iron than spinach, vitamin B12 than fish, protein than beef, calcium than milk and potassium than bananas. It contains all 9 amino acids, making it a complete protein. It requires less water, land, feed and produces less CO2 than any other conventional source of protein. The most common insects used are meat worms and black soldier fly for the animal feed industry and crickets and grasshoppers for human consumption. Besides those, there are more than 2100 edible species worldwide according to the Wageningen University in the Netherlands, one of the world leaders in scientific research about edible insects and entomophagy.
Some of these companies(Naturansa and nextProtein) not only produce protein products but provide fat and oils for industrial applications, cosmetics and many other usages. And as a byproduct, they produce frass, organic fertilizer for agriculture that consists of excrements and exoskeletons of insects. All of that while taking care of organic waste. Technology has a strong presence in this industry too. Startup FreezeM developed a revivable insect freezing system. Cogastro offers a digital and data-driven farming system to monitor farming performance. And Cricket Lab uses IoT and automation processes to improve tech in cricket farming.