Aspire Food Group and its collaborators have been awarded CAD 16.8 million ($13.2 million approx.) from Next Generation Manufacturing (NGen) to support the construction of a cricket protein plant in Canada.
Insect agriculture firm Aspire claims that the new plant in London, Ontario, will be the world’s first fully automated cricket protein manufacturing facility.
The funding was awarded to Aspire and its collaborators Telus Agriculture, DarwinAI, Swift Labs and A&L Laboratories by NGen under the government of Canada’s Innovation Supercluster Initiative.
The project is reportedly the largest funded by the NGen Supercluster, which aims to build up ‘next-generation’ manufacturing capabilities in Canada.
In 2020, Aspire purchased 12 acres of land in Innovation Park in London, and construction of the facility is already underway, with operations expected to begin in the first quarter of next year.
Employing 60 people at full speed, the plant will ultimately produce nearly 20,000 metric tonnes of products annually. Aspire manufactures nutrient-dense protein powder from crickets for food supplements and pet nutrition, as well as a plant and soil biopesticide and biostimulant.
According to Aspire, 100g of powdered cricket contains almost the same amount of protein as an equivalent amount of meat, but with less fat and fewer calories.
In developing technologies for the new facility, Aspire says that it has applied for and received 11 patents, and expects the project to generate additional intellectual property.
The collaborations with Aspire’s partners will see the project integrate technologies such as artificial intelligence and a private industrial internet of things.
The support from the NGen Supercluster will accelerate the commercialisation of these technologies and produce a template for the development of similar facilities in the future.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2021
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