A major US producer of meat has invested in insect protein in a bid to reduce "the burden on the planet" to help make the system more sustainable.
Tyson has stepped up investments in Protix, a Netherlands-based insect ingredients maker and is working alongside the compn to build a US factory.
It comes as insect protein is hailed as a sustainable food source, which experts claim "is definitely growing at what I would think is an exponential speed."
The new US facility will use animal waste to feed black soldier flies, which will then be turned into food for pets, poultry and fish.
Tyson has stepped up investments in Protix, a Netherlands-based insect ingredients maker and is working alongside the compn to build a US factory
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
"Today, we’re focused on more of [an] ingredient application with insect protein than we are a consumer application," John R Tyson, chief financial officer of Tyson Foods told CNN.
A 2021 report by Rabobank stated that "the demand for insect protein, mainly as an animal feed and pet food ingredient, could reach half a million metric tons by 2030, up from today’s market of approximately 10,000 metric tons."
The Springdale, Arkansas-based Tyson doesn’t make pet food, but it does sell its animal byproducts for use in the pet food and aquaculture market - which feeds fish.
Byproducts like animal fats, hides and inedible proteins, if not used or reduced, can end up in landfills.
"One feature of being in the animal protein business is having to figure out … how to derive value from” waste, Tyson said.
"We saw this as an extension of our existing business,” he said of the collaboration with Protix.
He added that the insect ingredient market has "really attractive growth characteristics that would accelerate Tyson".
The meat industry puts a huge burden on the planet because of the land, water and energy it takes to grow crops that feed the animals we eat.
Some experts suggest that reducing the environmental footprint of animal feed can help make the system more sustainable.
Dutch King Willem-Alexander (C) is given a guided tour by unidentified cooperators of the new insect farm of the Protix Company in Bergen
Christine Johanna Picard, a professor of biology at the Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis School of Science said the market for insect ingredients is "definitely growing at what I would think is an exponential speed".
"There are more and more startups coming into the space because there’s so much demand for insect protein."
Partnering with Tyson will help Protix scale up, Kees Aarts, the company’s CEO claims: "These partnerships are really needed to bring solutions like ours onto a global stage."