New Insect-Protein Joint Venture Led by Food-Ingredients Giant Bühler

January 30, 2017

The joint venture will initially focus on producing ingredients from the larvae of the Black Soldier Fly, but plans to diversify into mealworms as well.

Food- and feed-ingredients supplier Bühler (Uzwil, Switzerland) has forged a joint venture with insect-ingredients producer Protix Ingredients to develop insect-based protein solutions for human food and animal feed.

“This joint venture will develop scalable, industrial solutions for the rearing and processing of insects to provide protein primarily for animal feed and food,” the companies announced in a press release. The joint venture, dubbed Bühler Insect Technology Solutions, is based in Liyang, China, and has already begun operating, the firms said.

“By combining the knowledge and experience of our two companies, we can provide industrial insect-processing solutions to address the alternative-protein market,” said Ian Roberts, Bühler CTO, in a press release.

“Together, we can develop both sustainable and cost-effective solutions for large-scale insect producers and processors that cover the whole value chain,” added Kees Aarts, Protix CEO.

The planet is facing a protein shortage as the global population grows. As the food industry continues seeking alternative protein sources beyond even plant proteins, Bühler and Protix say that insects offer a low footprint and that insect protein could account for 15% of global protein production by 2050. “Fly larvae or mealworms, for instance, are easy to breed and can be fed with organic waste. They are remarkably efficient at converting feed into protein and require little space to cultivate.”

Founded in the Netherlands in 2009, Protix has already developed know-how in the breeding and rearing of insects, as well as how to extract proteins and liquids from insects. At its current pilot plant, Protix is said to process 1,600 tons of insect larvae per year into food ingredients. The company was named a “Technology Pioneer” by the World Economic Forum in 2015.

“Protix is the most advanced insect company that has demonstrated industrial-scale production in a way that is scalable and multipliable,” Bühler’s Roberts added. “They have proven how to create a market in insect protein.” According to the companies, Bühler will help “take the company to the next level” thanks to its knowledge of large, industrial processes for creating food and feed ingredients. In addition, Bühler is a leader in milling, which is a process needed to extract protein from insects.

The joint venture will initially focus on producing ingredients from the larvae of the Black Soldier Fly, but plans to diversify into mealworms as well.

 

Also read:

Ready to Eat Insect Protein? Start with These.

 

Jennifer Grebow
Editor-in-Chief
Nutritional Outlook magazine
jennifer.grebow@ubm.com