From: Laurie Balbo, Green Prophet
Published September 27, 2015 07:00 AM

Insect protein and our food

A start-up business focused on finding new ways of using insect protein in food products is a finalist in this year’s MassChallenge, the Boston-based start-up competition and world’s largest accelerator program. Get over your squeamishness, because bug-based foods will soon infest our markets.

The “elevator pitch” for Israel-based The Flying Spark states their intent to manufacture protein powder based on insect larvae that can be added to a wide range of food products, replacing today’s protein powders – commonly made from whey, soy, or casein. Insects contain extremely high protein, fiber, micro-nutrients and mineral content. They’re also naturally low in fat, and cholesterol-free. The tipping point for this product’s potential is that insect protein will cost less to produce than any other source of animal protein.

People have purposely eaten insects for ages, and bug-based foods are now being explored on a commercial scale to address a ballooning world population with stressed natural resources. In 2013, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization released a report (link here) promoting insects as a basic ingredient in both animal feed and human food. It emphasized sustainability, noting that insects (unlike livestock) can be reared on vegetable and domestic waste as well as slaughterhouse byproducts.

The Flying Spark aims to produce protein powder from ground-up fruit fly larvae, not to create new foods, but instead to sell to manufacturers that already use traditional protein powders in their products, such as nutritional supplements for body builders.

Woman about to eat insect image via Shutterstock.

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