Entomics was set up in 2015 by a group of students from the University of Cambridge, with support from the Cambridge Judge Entrepreneurship Centre’s ‘Accelerate Cambridge’ programme. Its vision is to end the scandal of 1.3 billion tonnes of food wasted globally every year.
Entomics focuses on ‘insect biomass conversion’. Larvae of the black soldier fly chew their way through several tonnes of food waste collected from local supermarkets and food processing plants.
The insects are fed different ‘recipes’ under controlled conditions to see how these affect growth rates and nutritional profiles. They metabolise the food waste into fats and proteins, growing to around 5,000 times their body weight within just a couple of weeks.
As McLaren, explains, these fats and proteins “are great sources of nutrition for salmon and poultry – in fact, insects are part of their natural diet.” Entomics is working with partners including the University of Stirling, who are world-leading salmon aquaculture experts, to validate and test their products in the field.
With support including from Innovate UK and the European Institute of Technology (via EIT FoodKIC), Entomics is using a novel bioprocessing technique to boost the nutritional and functional benefits of these insect-derived feeds, using a microbial fermentation technology they have termed ‘Metamorphosis’.