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Divaks and Bühler to develop industrial-scale yellow mealworm plant
FoodBev Media

FoodBev Media

8 November 2023

Divaks and Bühler to develop industrial-scale yellow mealworm plant

Lithuanian insect producer Divaks has selected Swiss technology group Bühler to build its first commercial-scale yellow mealworm plant. In the new plant, Divaks will produce yellow mealworm, an environmentally friendly, nutritious protein source that can be used in applications including meat alternatives, sports nutrition, snacks and confectionery as well as premium pet food. The residue from mealworm production, known as insect frass, will be utilised as organic fertiliser, contributing to healthier soils and fostering a circular economy approach. Yellow mealworms have been recognised as safe for human consumption by the European Commission and provide a complete protein source with all essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals. Commercial insect farming is considered to have a low environmental footprint, requiring minimal water, energy and land resources. It also supports circular food systems, with insect bioconversion potentially allowing for around a third of the EU’s annual food waste to be safely upcycled. The plant, which is scheduled to be operational in 2025, will produce up to 15,000 tonnes of sustainable insect-derived products per year.

Divaks expects the site – located in Lithuania’s Marijampolė Free Economic Zone and spanning 10,000 square metres – to double its production by 2030. Bühler is responsible for planning and executing the plant as well as providing solutions for the entire supply chain. Bühler is responsible for all process technology, including feedstock preparation to provide safe, palatable and nourishing feed to the larvae and a fully automated larvae growth system with climate control. Additionally, Bühler will provide the processing line to transform the harvested larvae into textured insect proteins (TIP), insect protein concentrates (IPC) and other specialised food ingredients. Divaks CEO and co-founder Kęstutis Lipnickas, said: “This is a huge step forward for Divaks as we work to establish ourselves as global leaders in high-quality insect-derived ingredients for human nutrition. Bühler will deliver the state-of-the art technology we need, allowing us to focus on the most important activities: market development and creating sustainable products that excel in nutritional and functional qualities.” Andreas Baumann, head of market segment insect technology at Bühler, commented: “We are delighted to have been chosen to provide a full-scope solution for Divaks’ yellow mealworm production site. It reinforces Bühler’s commitment to ambitious targets that will help to mitigate climate change and build a more sustainable food system.” Kęstutis Lipnickas added: “Edible insects have a key role to play as we move toward a more resilient and sustainable food system. Our new facility will help food brands tap into this fast-growing, high-potential sector with high-quality protein ingredients for premium food products.”

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