Guest blog: Have you considered insect bioconversion?

Guest Blog

Commentary invited by Food & Drink Technology


Fera Science Ltd

Guest blog: Have you considered insect bioconversion?Planning for Net Zero but need an extra boost to your strategy and operations for your food and drink business? Have you considered insect bioconversion?

Insect bioconversion (IB) is the innovative technology by which insects can help you manage your environmental impact by not only reducing volumes of waste streams and associated emissions, but also by generating added value products – from protein to fertiliser – a perfect example of the circular economy.

The process of IB mimics what happens in natural ecosystems and offers an environmentally friendly and potentially economic way of dealing with organic waste streams, including food and drink manufacturing residues. The insect species the Black Soldier Fly (Hermetica illucens) (BSF) reduces organic waste through consumption, converting waste streams into high quality protein, lipids whilst also generating its own waste substrate known as frass. The protein is processed and included as a component of animal feed, mainly for aquaculture and poultry. The frass that is produced can be used as a biofertilizer to enhance both soil and plant health.

Fera Science Ltd (Fera) an international centre of excellence in science spanning the whole foodscape can help you to explore the economic and environmental potential of IB in your journey towards Net Zero.

Jess Barker, business development lead at Fera says: “Fera has the expertise and the facilities to explore and provide a range of solutions to address commercial and sustainability goals including reducing food waste and potentially greenhouse gas emissions, and mitigating climate change by redistributing food and drink industry side streams and organic waste. Fera can help you assess the potential of your business and its waste streams to deliver innovation via Insect Bioconversion.”

Entomologist Dr Maureen Wakefield (pictured), principal scientist at Fera’s newly commissioned Insect Research Laboratory explains: “Insects such as BSF are adapted to growing on low-value feedstuffs whilst producing high quality protein and fat in a relatively short period. The potential is evident and significant.”

Food & drink manufacturers and their value chains – from primary production to end products – can explore the potential of IB to:

  • enhance sustainability and ESG credentials by the positive management of waste streams and improving circularity within the business.
  • add value to waste streams by moving them up the waste hierarchy –low value food surplus can be converted into high value products.
  • reduce the volume of waste streams – insects can reduce food waste volumes by ~ 50%.
  • improve supply chain efficiency – insect protein can be produced and utilised within the UK.Fera has the expertise to guide businesses through current legislation, regulations and limitations to ensure any safety and quality measures are met whilst providing a commercially and environmentally beneficial outcome. Find out more here
  • Why not join Fera experts and guests in conversation on their free webinar series Insect Bioconversion, Business Goals & Sustainability. The first is on 15 March 2023, aimed specifically at the food & drink sectors. Register your interest here

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