Published On: Tue, Aug 16th, 2016

How Will We Fill 9 Billion Bowls By 2040? Israeli startup Develops Insect Protein To Help World Food Crisis

795 million people out of the world's 7 billion population, do not have enough food to eat. Flying Spark has an ambitious goal. Why not.

Israeli startup Flying Spark      

Amidst a world potentially facing future food shortages, an Israeli food related start-up Flying Spark has an ambitious goal – “to fill 9 billion bowls by 2040” with protein powder based foods derived from fruit flies, which it hopes will soon infest our markets.

Flying Spark states their intent to begin manufacture during 2017 of a protein powder based on fruit fly larvae. Their product can be added to a wide range of food products, replacing today’s protein powders made from beans, eggs,  whey or soy.

Bugs are full of  protein, fiber, micro-nutrients and mineral content. They’re low in fat, and cholesterol-free, (think of locusts). The company claims the fruit fly is an environmentally sustainable food source, and a perfect alternative for animal protein. Above all, such  proteins will cost less to produce than any other source of animal protein.

More over, fruit fly larvae are rich in magnesium, iron and calcium. Flying Spark doesn’t use hormones or antibiotics in their production process, as meat producing industries do. Insects don’t consume as much food, water or valuable land as cows, cattle and pigs, thus minimizing greenhouse gas pollution.

Flying Spark was founded in 2014 by entrepreneur Eran Gronich and insect specialist Dr. Yoram Yerushalmi. The company has already raised 1$ million.  The company wants to sell its protein powder directly to manufacturers that are already using protein powders in their products, like nutritional supplements for body builders, breads, cereals and tofu.

“We think athletes are early adopters, ” Gronich told betaboston, adding that about 15 companies around the world are developing insect-based foods. “We have only one challenge — and that is the psychological barrier, ” he says. “Though people do eat shrimp and lobster and squids. Those are like cockroaches crawling on the bottom of the ocean picking up the trash.”

 

fruit fly Israeli startup Flying Spark Photos Courtesy

 

According to the World Food Programme 795 million people out of the world’s 7 billion population, do not have enough food to eat. That’s what led  Flying Spark to develop these exciting new sources of protein for human consumption.

In 2013, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization released a report promoting insects as a basic ingredient in both animal feed and human food.

Gronich told NoCamels that he decided to produce protein from insects after attending a TED talk, which focused on the upcoming food crisis and the challenges of feeding nine billion people by 2040. The speaker suggested that the world needs to invest in insect consumption, and Gronich was fascinated. “The population of the world is growing, oceans are being over-fished and the prices of meat and chicken are soaring, ” he tells the innovation web reporting site NoCamels. “Still, the demand for protein is rising.”

“We take the larvae through a process that includes boiling, grounding and separating the fat and the protein, and then we dry the protein and turn it into powder, ” Gronich explained to NoCamels.

The most surprising product, so far at least, according to NoCamels, may be  a burger made out of pure fruit fly larvae, achieved by grinding the larvae. “It’s 100 percent meat without killing any cow and without polluting the environment, ” Gronich says. “We can control the taste by adding flavor.”

Flying Spark is not the only company to offer products mahe out of insects. There is onther Israeli startup Steak TzarTzar, which also grows insects such as grasshoppers for human consumption.

A Parisian start-up,  Ynsect, claims it is building the world’s first fully automated large-scale insect production facility, capable of producing 10, 000 tons of dried protein meal, liquid fat, and chitin-derived products from insects each year. Construction will begin next year, according to greenprophet.

Chirps makes novelty insect-based foods like tortilla chips made from ground crickets, and Chapul baked goods made from cricket flour, are both emerging online and on shop shelves.

 

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