- Insect tech startup Entocycle has struck a deal with one of the world’s major processing technology companies, Bühler Group, to scale black soldier fly (BSF) production.
- Together, the companies will provide expertise, equipment and services for converting organic waste into BSF larvae used for protein in animal feed.
- The companies aim to reduce time to market for insect farming companies and remove much of the guesswork involved with in-house systems.
Why it matters:
By many accounts, infrastructure is one of the biggest challenges to large-scale BSF production. Converting organic waste into BSF larvae and in turn to high-value protein ingredients is an expensive process requiring specialized equipment and the knowledge to properly run that equipment.
The Etocycle-Bühler partnership aims to break down some of these infrastructural barriers for BSF-rearing companies.
UK-based Entocycle provides technology solutions specific to insect farming companies; Swiss multinational Bühler has a long history of developing equipment for feedstock processing and other food-related operations.
The latter has been developing insect-production capabilities over the last decade, including opening its own Insect Technology Center in 2022.
Similar to what’s happening in vertical farming, insect production is transitioning out of the days where early pioneers had to build their entire operation from the ground up. In a statement, Andreas Baumann, Head of Market Segment Insect Technology at Bühler, said that “companies now venturing into this industry should not have to go through the same trial and error phases and rather rely on a proven and scalable solution.”
Bühler and Entocycle aim to provide solutions that cover the entire operation of producing BSF, from planning to building and running facilities. The companies say this should “significantly reduce time to market for a scalable end-to-end solution.”
This isn’t the first time an insect protein startup has partnered with a multinational. In 2022, France-based InnovaFeed entered a strategic partnership with agribusiness giant ADM. In the UK, Better Origin has partnered with supermarket chain Morrisons to run black soldier fly “mini-farms” on the latter’s egg farms for chicken feed.
BSF and other insects such as mealworms produce edible protein with a far smaller carbon footprint than traditional livestock. With their partnership, Entocycle and Bühler look to be standardizing processes to make that low carbon footprint a reality for more companies.
“The industrial use of BSF is rapidly gaining traction among businesses seeking alternative protein feed sources and more sustainable practices,” said Baumann. “If we really want to make impact and lead the way, we need to bring forces together and collaborate effectively to lower the hurdles for companies interested in venturing into the insect industry,” says Andreas Baumann.”