Insect protein extraction: the future of sustainable farming?
The benefits of insect farming
While insect farming might be a controversial topic for most, no one can deny that is becoming a more and more booming market. The reason for that is quite simple: growing concerns about environmental sustainability, and the ever-increasing world population, the demand for new, suitable sources of protein has also increased. Many industries have already come to the realization that the current agriculture simply won’t be able to keep up with the expected changes.
In contrast, insect protein processing not only presents a new viable source of nutrients but also comes with a whole assortment of benefits, which has already led to many health and environmentally conscious consumers to consider them as a better alternative compared to animal proteins like cattle and poultry. The benefits of insect protein consumption include:
- They reproduce a lot faster
- Their life cycle is a lot shorter
- Farming them doesn’t require nearly as much time, space and money as other animals do
- They can produce the same amount of meat with less feed
- Insect farming is a lot more ethical and green
- Insect protein has great nutritional value
- Their superior digestive systems enable them to be a clean source of food
- It’s so easy, you can even farm insects in your own home
With so many benefits related to their farming and consumption, it’s no exaggeration to say that insect farming will play a great role indeed in the future of sustainable agriculture. There are hundreds of edible species that can be converted into protein powder, like mealworms, crickets, or the increasingly popular black soldier fly larvae (BSFL). The popularity of the former can easily be explained: they can be fed even with organic waste generated from other agricultural processes, from which they can extract up to 70% of protein. Thanks to this, they are an excellent sustainable food source for humans and animals alike, making them a viable option for many businesses.
Insect protein processing is a much more important investment for the future than you might thinkOne of the reasons many businesses are already investing time and energy into acquiring tools and equipment for insect farming and protein processing is because of the increasing risk of food insecurity in the future. Food insecurity is a term used to describe shortages of food, or even when food becomes more and more expensive, unevenly distributed among regions, or not safe to eat! Disparities are already present in today’s food industry since the demand and supply of food resources are far from being balanced. This is only made worse by the decrease of pastures and the increase of demand for food.
Insect farming and protein extraction may very well provide a more sustainable solution to fighting food insecurities. The main obstacles lie in an infrastructure that is still just accommodating itself to the idea of farming in insects on a larger scale, and in the negative psychological perception linked with eating insects. Still, because of the increasingly urgent incentives to find solutions to a wide range of environmental, social, and economical problems, it certainly doesn’t seem likely that these obstacles are here to stay.
Especially since there is already a huge demand for edible insects! Numbers don’t lie: there are more than 1500 species of insects that are consumed daily by about 3000 ethnic groups in over 110 countries. So even if Europe is still a little on the fence about consuming insects, most of Asia, Australia, America, and Africa certainly aren’t! The most popular insect proteins come from crickets, black soldier fly larvae, grasshoppers, and even ants and cockroaches.
There is also the fact that the traditional livestock-producing industry is becoming less and less sustainable. In agriculture, about 77 million tons of plant protein is consumed to produce 58 million tons of cattle, swine, poultry, and other types of animal proteins per year! As we mentioned before, food insecurity is already a present-day phenomenon: animal protein is far from being evenly distributed since people in developed countries consume a lot more meat than those living in developing countries. The demand for affordable protein is sky-high, and animal protein is becoming more expensive every year. Adding to this problem is an ever-increasing world population!
There is also the fact that insect protein farming isn’t just better for the environment: it’s better for you! Even without singling out a single species, edible insects have usually better nutritional values compared to traditional sources of protein. Aside from higher protein content, they are also rich in lipids, vitamins, as well as essential amino and fatty acids!
In short, insect farming and protein processing could present an effective counter, or at least help reduce the magnitude of the issues described above. Global issues aside, it could also provide an ideal supply for those looking for healthier sources of protein!
The ideal tool for insect protein extraction: introducing the ISS AGRI Facility
If you were to decide to try your luck with insect protein extraction, you would certainly have a demand for your end-products. There is a vast range of potential customers looking for quality protein sources, from farmers and agri- and aquacultural specialist who need it for animal feed, to companies who produce powders, shakes, and various protein bars for athletes and health-conscious people alike. While it is true that compared to our eastern colleagues the western world is still on the fence about eating insects whole, protein powders and other insect-based products can provide the ideal introductory step.
So how does one go about insect protein processing exactly? Companies like Celitron can be a great help in getting you set up, with a device like the ISS AGRI Facility. Basically, it is an automated, continuous process that was built just for this purpose. It is perfectly equipped with everything needed to process all temperature-sensitive species, separates oil and water, and recover all valuable proteins. All this in one single cycle, making the ISS AGRI Facility a very user-friendly device.
Want to learn more about the details of insect protein processing? Then take a closer look at Celitron's invention!