Much has been said about the expected world population of 9.6 billion by 2050. To feed these many mouths with protein would be a tough task. There are now researches and startups trying to address the issue via unconventional and bold ideas. They have already putting out to the market various solutions for meat substitutes which are palatable and indistinct from traditional meat.
These flies come from eggs deposited by the female black soldier fly, with female flies lays more than a thousand eggs each at a time. From these about five percent are kept alive and isolated to produce the next generation of flies.
However, there are other problems at hand. These fake meats would still be sold beside traditional meat, and in this arena, Entocycle is making a dent with a surprising approach. They still use food and protein to feed animals, so Entocycle is developing a bold idea for it – an animal feed which is based on the larvae of black soldier flies.
The animal feed industry is estimated to be worth $150 billion. Feeds are usually made from various other plants or animals which have high nutritional value. For instance, feeds for cattle feedlots are usually made from soya. Because high quality grass can no longer compete with the cost of soya-based feeds, the sheer volume of cattle to feed with grass alone would require large areas of land which are no longer available.
The same issue is true for fishes. There was a time when tilapia was raised in fish ponds to serve as fish food for more expensive fish farmed varieties. Nowadays, tilapia has become one of the most important commercial fish varieties. In the future, feeding tilapia might also become a problem if this issue is left unaddressed.
Entocycle started out three years ago. Since then, it has met with some success in making black soldier fly larvae an acceptable protein farm feed. Recently, it was able to raise $1 million in grant money from the UK government, the European Commission, and from the European Space Agency.
Black soldier flies feed on a wide range of organic waste. These include industrial wastes from breweries, commercial kitchens, and almost every other kind of organic material. Since black soldier flies eat up almost anything, automated systems can easily monitor them.
Black soldier flies replicate themselves in large numbers. These flies come from eggs deposited by the female black soldier fly, with female flies lays more than a thousand eggs each at a time. From these about five percent are kept alive and isolated to produce the next generation of flies. 95% of the eggs become larvae and fed for a week before being harvested and converted to animal feed.
Since black soldier flies eat organic waste, this means that they can contribute to problems about food waste disposal. In addition, since these flies do not require any soil to farm, these can be cost-efficient in terms of actual farm footprints. They can also be used for other types of feeds, like those used for tuna and other fish pond animals.
Entocycle is yet to distribute a viable product. For now, part of their marketing plan is to market the fly-feeds to supermarkets in line with the news that the European Commission now allows feeding insect protein for feeding farmed fish. With the larvae-based protein, these farm-raised fishes do not have to depend on fish feeds. This bold idea is worth exploring and investing on in the name of food stability.