Waste on the plate: insects at the heart of bioconversion

What if our food waste could be used to feed insects and these insects could be used to feed farm animals? The start-up Entofood is developing this very idea at its pilot farm in Malaysia in partnership with Veolia.

 

Will flies allow us to feed the world better?

BIOCONVERSION - Definition

BIOCONVERSION consists in turning previously undervalued organic products (catering leftovers, harvest waste, food processing byproducts, etc.) into high added-value products.

If you’re averse to a diet of insects, fear not: today we’re only talking about growing their larvae and using them as food for farm animals. Especially those requiring protein, such as fish, poultry or pigs. This is the aim of Entofood, a French startup established in Malaysia. Its idea is simple: transforming the problem of managing unused or undervalued organic waste into a solution to the growing need for protein for animal food.
 

Waste

With Veolia’s help, Entofood is developing high added-value products based on black soldier fly larvae (Hermetia illucens). This is a non-invasive insect that is harmless to humans and feeds on food waste: the ideal candidate for this method of converting waste into protein, known as bioconversion. Entofood produces oil, proteinrich meal and organic fertilizers from these larvae. A real circular economy is therefore established. The prospects are promising: aquaculture provides half of the fish consumed worldwide. Bioconversion will mean that cultivated fish do not have to be fed with other fish or any protein grown to the detriment of food crops or forests.

Entofood and Veolia have complementary know-how: the first has the technology required for this new form of recovery; the second has the knowledge and expertise regarding the organic source on a global scale. This partnership could make the difference in a world where the issues of food safety, selfsufficiency and greenhouse gas reduction are critical.

BIOCONVERSION consists in turning previously undervalued organic products (catering leftovers, harvest waste, food processing byproducts, etc.) into high added-value products.

WHY ASIA?

There are two main reasons for choosing Asia:

  • the “black soldier” fly (Hermatia illucens) is native to the tropical belt, hence Entofood’s decision to reproduce it in its region of origin;
  • the region represents over 80% of aquaculture worldwide.

Key figure

  • 10 kg of plant protein produces 1 kg of beef protein, but 10 kg of insect protein.
  • 50 %of fish consumed worldwide come from farms (since 2014).
  • 1 kg of eggs from the black soldier fly, fed on waste, produces 6 metric tons of protein in 10 days.
  • There are only 10 to 12 days between the black solider fly eggs hatching and larvae harvesting.
  • 10% of the protein market could come from insects by 2040 (analyst estimate).

Through its subsidiary SEDE, Veolia is also partnering the start-up Mutatec, established in the Bouches-du-Rhône region in France, which also uses the black soldier fly as feed for aquaculture and poultry farming. The fly larva has great potential: in July 2017, the European Commission authorized the use of animal proteins processed from insects for aquaculture.
Bioconversion by insects also presents a new opportunity that complements the range of solutions SEDE offers its customers ensuring the best recovery solutions for their organic residues.

More about tomorrow’s food:

How do we feed 9 billion people in 2040?

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