Israel: Growing grasshoppers with vertical farming infrastructure

From ingredients to finished products, start-ups are innovating to produce the next hottest products in the alternative ingredient space. The alternative protein market is on a steep upwards trajectory. In a recent study undertaken by Boston Consulting Group and Blue Horizon Corporation, it was predicted that every tenth portion of meat, eggs, dairy, and seafood around the world would be made by alternative proteins by 2035.

The same report, titled Food for Thought: The Protein Transformation​, estimated the market would grow from the current 13 million metric tonnes a year to 97 million metric tonnes per year within the same time frame.

At the recent FoodTech IL event in Israel, alternative proteins – both as ingredients and finished products – featured heavily in the program. "This is because of its potential to address ‘challenges that are occupying the global food community'", said Amir Zaidman, VP of Business Development at The Kitchen Hub, by Strauss. “There is no doubt that alternative proteins and plant-based foods are one of the hottest topics,” ​he told.

‘Nature’s most efficient protein source’​
Entrepreneur Dror Tamir claims to be working with ‘nature’s most efficient protein source’: grasshoppers. For the co-founder and CEO of Israeli start-up Hargol FoodTech, the insect is the ‘perfect solution’. Just one spoonful of its product makes up the equivalent of one-third of the daily protein requirement for adults.

In other words, one spoonful of grasshopper protein powder contains the same amount of protein as 100g of steak. Further, grasshoppers are ‘packed with nutrients’, he told delegates at the recent FoodTech IL event. Containing 72% complete protein, grasshopper also contains omega 3, 6, and 9, as well as iron, zinc, and folic acid. It is low in both saturated fat and cholesterol.

Hargol says it is the first and only company in the world to have reached commercial-scale production of an alternative protein from grasshoppers, which it is doing at its 13,000 square foot production facility in Israel. Being climate-controlled, the site allows for grasshoppers to be grown year-round, with accelerated incubation of grasshopper eggs meaning that the number of animal lifecycles can be increased from 1 to 11.

Vertical farming infrastructure means that 150,000 grasshoppers can be reared per room, with additional technologies predominantly focused on new genetic lines of the insect expected to reduce feed costs by 97% and labor costs by more than 50%.

Read the complete article at www.foodnavigator.com.


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