Disrupting unsustainable food systems
With a growing population, resource scarcity and an already overstretched agricultural sector, our current global food production system requires ever-increasing quantities of land, water, energy and chemical inputs. This is particularly evident in livestock production. Livestock uses 70% of all available agricultural land and 8% of the global human water supply. It is responsible for a staggering 18% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (FoE, 2008).
A major part of the environmental impacts of animal production is caused by animal feed, which is mainly comprised of soybean, fishmeal, fish oil and other grains (FoE, 2008). The environmental degradation caused by soy production includes biodiversity loss, climate change and soil degradation all over the globe as well as GHG emissions in production and transportation.
Fish farming has been widely promoted as a more sustainable alternative to meat and is currently the fastest growing animal-food producing sector globally (FAO, 2013). Despite this, the majority of fish farms are still dependent on vast amounts of fishmeal, which causes a number of environmental concerns, including the potentially irreversible depletion of fish stocks. If current trends continue, fish and meat production will double by 2050. It is clear that we must find novel ways to enable production to become more sustainable.
Our insect-based feed displaces environmentally destructive fishmeal, fish oil and soymeal. We harness the efficiency of insects in converting organic waste into quality nutrients. We collect organic waste (from household food waste to spent brewery grain), which we feed to larvae before processing them into feed pellets or flakes for animals. Our end product is a feed with a high protein content, rich fats and minerals.
Our animal feed has the potential not only to drastically reduce the overall environmental impacts of meat and fish production but to enable local meat and fish industries to become more resilient by having a reliable, cheap and locally-produced feed.
This will also, in turn, decrease the EU’s reliance on imported proteins for animal feed, decreasing subsidies and the consequent burden on taxpayers on top of the GHGs associated with the import of feed. Importantly however, by utilising very low-energy production methods and relying on waste as inputs, our product addresses an additional set of environmental issues relating to waste management, promoting nutrient recycling and industrial symbiosis. This contributes to a circular economy, converting waste back into marketable products and creating commercial, environmental and social value.