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East Netherlands
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04/12/2019

Insect-based ingredients contribute to a sustainable protein transition


Protifarm is a global pioneer in the production of sustainable ingredients made from insects. This Agri-tech company from East Netherlands, grows ‘buffalo beetle’ on an industrial scale and processes the beetle’s larvae into sustainable and functional ingredients for the food industry. With this process, the company holds the keys to answering the ever-increasing demand for sustainable and healthy food. There is a rising need for more variation in the consumption pattern to reduce its impact on the environment. This investment of millions in protein transition, enables Protifarm to make a solid growth and to further improve its R&D.

10 billion mouths to feed

The world’s population is estimated to increase to 10 billion people in 2050. To feed all these mouths, food production needs to increase with no less than 70%. This poses serious challenges to the sustainability of our food production. The ‘sustainable protein transition’ fits into the growing need and urgency to radically reform our food system, where we obtain protein from other sources than meat, such as plant sources or insects.

Insects are grown with the use of “vertical farming”, in stacked layers. Because of this, only a small growroom and hardly any water is needed. The CO2-emmission is also limited. The insects live on vegetable side-streams from the food industry. The feed conversion of insects, compared to traditional life stock, is efficient and contributes to the sustainable nature of the production.

Animal and vegetable-based alternative

The ingredients obtained, marketed by Protifarm under the AdalbaPro brand, are not only durable but also healthy. Protifarm extracts important nutrients from the insect and processes them into soluble powders and textured products which provide binding and structuring in the final product. The nutrients include essential amino acids, vitamins (such as B12), minerals, fibres and healthy fats. “Our AdalbaPro ingredients contain the quality of animal protein, but are at the same time more sustainable than animal and vegetable alternatives”, Tom Mohrmann, CEO of Protifarm, explains. “In this, it is the best of both worlds”. Protifarm’s AdalbaPro ingredient line consists of base materials for final products. The insects themselves are no longer recognisable. “Our ingredients are used to fabricate products such as protein shakes, food bars, noodles, and also enrich meat or meat alternatives”, says Mohrmann.

Vertical farming

Investing in protein transition

Protifarm can take a step forward to the targeted growth. Mohrmann: “With this investment we can continue to grow in capacity and optimise our growth and treatment processes. We also invest in sales, marketing and R&D activities to maintain our international position as front runner in this market.”

Bart Hoeflaak, team manager Food at Oost NL, one of the investors: “We invest in companies with solutions for large societal challenges. We consider protein transition to be one of the largest challenges of our time and support companies working on that. Also, they tap into the demand of the future, which is why we see a great economic potential. It is good that a company like Protifarm can evolve in this region.”

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