Hargol and Enorm, two companies making delectable insect treats for you, plus the European Food Safety Authority declares locusts safe to eat. Circular Charlotte, NC: turning waste Into gold.
Hargol and Enorm–Two Companies Making Delectable Insect Treats for you, Circular Charlotte, NC–Turning Waste Into Gold
HARGOL, ISRAEL’S EDIBLE INSECT COMPANY, WANTS YOU TO EAT GRASSHOPPERS!
Science reveals that almost 25% of all GHGs are emitted by agriculture and land use. That includes raising livestock for human consumption. Farmers in developing nations like Brazil and Argentina, are now deforesting rainforests to become cattle ranchers, worsening the climate change problem.
By 2050, the global human population is forecast to reach 9.8 billion. Scientists say traditional large animal agriculture will overwhelm the system leading potentially to ecological collapse. So how to provide enough protein for everybody? Insects.
At least that’s one Israeli company, Hargol, hopes to fill that niche. Dror Tamir is an Israeli entrepreneur who founded Hargol. He says he got the idea for flavored grasshoppers from stories his grandmother told him during her days on a kibbutz back in the 1950s. A kibbutz is typically an agrarian collective community–like what we in America might call a “commune.”
According to an interview with BBC, Tamir recalled how locusts invaded his grandmother’s kibbutz, ruining the corps. “While most kibbutz members ran to the fields to scare the grasshoppers away, the Yemenite and Moroccan Jewish members collected tons of them to eat, ” he said.
Grasshoppers are a food staple for billions of people globally–in Africa, Asia, Central America and in the Middle East, too. Our aversion to eating insects is culturally-derived from Europe.
Hargol farms its locusts at an indoor, solar-powered facility in northern Israel. It takes only 29 days for the locusts to grow to full maturity. “We can breed 400 million locusts a year in our facilities,” says Mr Tamir. Significantly, locusts are both kosher and halal, meaning that they can be eaten by both dietary observant Jews and Muslims.
Why does insect farming matter to us? Tamir claims that compared with beef production, locust farming reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 99%, water consumption by 1,000 times and arable land usage 1,500-fold. And, it’s possible to feed the insects food waste, making the whole process a virtuous loop. The potential advantages to society are significant.”
ENORM–SERVING UP BLACK FLY LARVAE–YUMMY!
Sticking with the problem of environmentally sustainable protein sources, i.e. bugs, ANOTHER startup, this time a Danish one, is hoping the Black Soldier Fly larva can play a crucial part in making the food industry more eco-friendly. The company is called Enorm– Enorm wants you to eat the change you want to see in the world.
You don’t have to, yet. Enorm’s niche is to provide protein stock for livestock–fish, poultry, and pigs first.
Production of Black Soldier Fly (BSF) larvae in ENORM aligns with some of the 17 United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They include creating a circular value chain. In the case of Enorm, insects will be fed food waste from agricultural and other food industry partners.
Often, feedstock is disposed of as slurry on crop fields, increasing the pool of nutrients in agricultural land — not a good thing. Over supply of nutrients leads to runoff or leaching, both polluting factors in water.
Black Soldier fly larvae will then convert the food into three products–insect protein, fat and fiber . These will then be sold back to the food and agricultural industry partners as feedstock for their livestock or as ingredients in their processed foods. A virtuous circle. More importantly, a circular economy.
Oh and just one more thing, Enorm makes a high-protein flour from the larvae, too.
CIRCULAR CHARLOTTE AND THE BLACK SOLDIER FLY LARVA EXPERIMENT
And it’s not just Denmark and Israel that are seeing the wisdom of turning bugs into batter, insects into animal feed, exoskeletals into edibles…
Charlotte, NC in 2016, made itself a goal to become a Zero Waste City by 2050. Part of that strategy involved building an Innovation Barn, which would be the home to five companies/case studies for how to zero out waste. One such involves a partnership with Crown Town Compost. This involves giving about 50,000 tons of food waste to black soldier fly larvae for conversion to pellets into about 6,800 tons of feed for livestock.
For the City of Charlotte, it’s not as much about feedstock for it’s citizen farmers as it is cost and space savings at the local landfill. The 2017 study projected that 50K tons of diverted food waste would save just over 5% of landfill space, and save the city over $1.6M.
The Climate Daily is happy to report that the Innovation Barn in Charlotte, NC finally opened last month. And according to WFAE, Crown Town Compost is also providing black soldier fly larvae to 100 Gardens–an education focused aquaponics garden– as fish food for the fish in their aquariums.
Charles Oliphant of 100 Gardens, said, “You’re growing plants, you’re growing animals in a symbiotic relationship. And it’s just a great way to teach kids in a hands-on way about all the stuff that they want to learn anyway,”
EFSA DECLARES LOCUSTS SAFE TO EAT
The EDIBLE INSECT INDUSTRY is BUOYANT, at least in the European Union, because the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), ruled in July 2021 that migratory locusts are now considered safe for human consumption in both frozen and dried formats.
The insect industry is a giant leap towards a low-footprint future for agriculture. Insects are nature’s most powerful up-cyclers and are the missing link in our food system. They can help create a circular food system and enable us to move from a resource-depleting linear system of production.
Insects have the amazing ability to turn low-grade food waste into valuable high-end proteins and fats. That’s why about a half-dozen insect food companies were closely following the progress of the application to the EFSA by Fair Insects, a Protix company, as it wended its way through the system.
Here’s the dry language by the European Food Safety Authority in authorizing use of migratory locusts for human consumption:
“The target population proposed by the applicant is the general population. The Panel notes that considering the composition of the Novel Food and the proposed conditions of use, the consumption of the NF is not nutritionally disadvantageous. The submitted history of use and toxicity studies from literature did not raise safety concerns.
The NF has a high protein content, although the true protein levels in it are overestimated when using the nitrogen‐to‐protein conversion factor of 6.25, due to the presence of non‐protein nitrogen from chitin. can be overestimated…”
European Union (EU) Member States’ authorities approved the draft implementing regulation aiming to authorize the commercialization of frozen and dried migratory locust on the EU market on October 8th.