Evolving views of food are challenging traditional diets – And not just for humans. Innovative food options are also being added to our pet menus.
Startups have proposed many new ways to satiate their appetites. the United kingdom Bella and Dukefor example, meets the needs of animals in raw diets, While Sweden’s Buddy Pet Foods offers a natural dry food, Portugal’s Barkyn personalizes its flavor.
If none of those appeal to our palates, our furry friends can try an even more delicious delicacy: insects.
This is what is cooked in a kitchen FlyFeedIt is a startup company based in Estonia. The company has developed an automated farming system that turns fly larvae into animal feed.
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“It’s a challenge for humans, but a no-brainer for animals.
Arseny Olekovsky, founder of FlyFeed in 2021, said the concept arose from research into malnutrition. He concluded that insect farming could provide an affordable and sustainable solution to protein deficiency. But he plans to feed the animals before getting close to humans.
“It’s a challenge in human food right now, because people don’t really want to eat something associated with insects — but it’s a no-brainer for animal feed,” Olkhovsky told TNW.
The 24-year-old rambles through a long list of farming bug benefits: They feed on reprocessed waste that would otherwise rot in dumps. They grow up to 100 times faster than traditional animal food sources; It is rich in high quality nutrients; Their production costs are minimal; It requires far fewer environmental resources than traditional farming.
Olkhovskiy promises that they are also very palatable for pets. He says his cat is a fan of the flavors.
FlyFeed isn’t the first startup to turn insects into pet food. Ÿnsect in France has spent more than a decade producing ingredients from mealworms, while Jiminy’s in the US processes protein from crickets. FlyFeed uses another insect: bDeficiency of flies soldier.
This type has many attractions. The larvae can convert organic waste into edible protein for animal consumption and fertilizer. It is also suitable for wet foods and is rich in various nutrients. It does not transmit diseases, and it has a fast growth rate.
The insects will be raised on agricultural leftovers in vertically stacked bins, which require 100 times less space than soybeans or cattle farming. The facility will also use data-driven climate control to improve conditions, and computer vision to monitor larval development.
The protein from the farm will be incorporated into the food. FlyFeed plans to deliver the first commercial batches of the product next year. The company annually aims to convert 40,000 tons of waste into 17,500 tons of insect products. The output will be divided between proteins, fats and fertilizers.
If all goes well, early production would provide a springboard for human consumption.
“First, we need to scale it up,” Olkhovsky said. “We need to make it cheaper, we need to bring it to standard quality, and we also need to get it to markets where people actually need it.”
According to Olkhovsky, other insect-farming startups have had difficulty marketing their food to humans. He chose instead to focus on operational and technological challenges. Once they are overcome, Olekowski plans to distribute the products in countries where malnutrition is more serious. He expects to drive adoption through a lower price point. Whereas a kilo of protein from cheap broilers is $4, he says, a kilo of FlyFeed protein costs less than $2.
However, in Europe, lower prices have not yet created demand. aAccording to the 2020 EU report, Only 10% of Europeans would like to swap meat for insects.
However, there are signs that attitudes can change. A study published last December found that people were more open to eating insects after learning of the environmental benefits.
Regulators are also beginning to embrace the odds. In January, the European Union He agreed to sell From cockroaches and domestic larvae for human consumption.
However, it seems unlikely that we will all be eating flies in the near future. But maybe our pets can convince us to try it.