New technology from Swiss company Bühler will allow manufacturers to use yellow mealworms as an alternative, sustainable option for the farming feed industry.
Bühler Insect Technology Solutions (BITS) focuses on finding solutions for alternative proteins, sustainable animal feed, food safety and natural ingredients, amongst others.
There are ever-increasing global pressures on protein, due to the rising worldwide population, land erosion, ocean depletion and climate change. Aware of these pressures, the industry is increasingly focusing its attention on alternative protein sources such as algae, fungi and insects. Bühler is particularly focused on the use of insects as an innovative source.
With farmers struggling to break even due to the increase of production costs, there is particular pressure on livestock production, especially pigs.
In June this year, BITS built the first industrial black soldier fly plant, providing protein for animal feed. BITS is now working on the creation of a second species, the yellow mealworm. Mealworms are able to grow on wheat bran and rice husks, meaning the process results in increased value of by-products, contributing to its sustainability.
Now supporting a project in the Netherlands, BITS are to install and commission a complete mealworm production facility in a 2,300 square-metre facility.
Insects offer great potential due to their ability to be produced anywhere and to be used almost directly as a high quality source of nutrition and protein. The yellow mealworm’s nutritional value includes proteins, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and dietary fibre with Bühler believing it has great marketing opportunities.
Andreas Aepli, CEO BITS said: “Our proposition to the market is to support the industry through solutions that produce and process a range of insect species.
“With this project we will set the bar on modularized mealworm production in an automated and hygienic way.
“Our technological solutions can be readily integrated into existing farms, but larger-scale facilities can also be realised. Once the first plant is completed and producing profitably in the Netherlands, it will offer livestock farmers an alternative option for gaining a sustainable business with attractive margins.”
While in some countries, insects are consumed by humans, there is still concern within the industry over whether Western consumers will accept insect-based food products. Therefore BITS is largely focused on the processing of insects to provide protein in animal feed, contributing to the food supply chain.
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