Insect protein firm wins new BBC food supply chain award

By Michael Stones contact

- Last updated on GMT

Insect protein firm AgriProtein has won a new BBC Food and Farming Award
Insect protein firm AgriProtein has won a new BBC Food and Farming Award

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Insect protein firm AgriProtein has won the inaugural BBC Food Chain Global Champion award, for its pioneering work to help develop animal feeds from food waste.

The South African firm – which recently opened a headquarters in London – landed the award for its animal feed ingredient made from fly larvae reared on food waste.

The product, MagMeal, is a protein substitute for fishmeal used widely in aquaculture, agriculture and petfood. Said to be a natural, sustainable alternative that will never run out “as long as humans produce waste” ​the product would help relieve pressure on vulnerable global fish stocks, claimed the firm.

AgriProtein has fly farm projects under development in several countries to produce the feed, which will supply the $100bn aquafeed market and ultimately for poultry, pigs and petfood.

Working with global engineering firm Christof Industries, the company is able to deliver fly farms on a turnkey basis anywhere in the world at the rate of up to 25 factories a year, it claimed.

Co-founder and ceo Jason Drew said: “Insect protein is an idea whose time has come and we are now producing it at an industrial scale. This award is a vote of confidence in the waste-to-nutrient industry.”

Most destructive activities on the planet

Drew described trawling the oceans to produce fishmeal as one of the most destructive activities on the planet. “Replacing it in animal feed is good news for the environment and means more of the world’s dwindling population of wild fish can be harvested sustainably for human consumption,”​ he said.

“By using existing waste to rear fly larvae, we’re reducing the greenhouse gases and pollution caused by organic landfill.”

Future Food Award

London-based subterranean salad producer Growing Underground has won the Future Food category​ of the BBC Food and Farming Awards. Watch out for more details next week.

New EU regulations permit the use of insect-based nutrients in aquafeed since July 1 2017. Elsewhere, its wider use is already permitted in the agriculture and petfood industries.

The new award is part of the BBC Food and Farming Awards 2017 and represents its first international food and farming award. BBC World Service senior commissioning editor Steve Titherington said: “Our Global Champion Award highlights both the challenges and fascinating successes being created by individuals around the world.”

The culture of food, the science, technology, politics and business associated with food are key concerns to the broadcaster’s global audience, he added. 

‘Insects are the protein of the future’

Awards judge, New York-based chef, restaurateur and author Pierre Thiam said: “Insects are the protein of the future, so it’s great to see AgriProtein already doing it for animal feed. Raising flies on food waste is just brilliant, because nothing need go to waste anymore. This so-called waste is feeding the animals that will feed the world.”

Read more about the BBC Food and Farming Awards here​.

Meanwhile, the UK’s best food and drink supply chain initiative will be recognised in the Food Manufacture Excellence Awards​ at London’s Park Lane Hilton on the evening of Wednesday November 1.

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