How to throw a stone at food loss and the protein crisis?

An Estonian biotech startup working on edible insects mass rearing technology and software

In the current world, more than 800 million people (one out of nine people) are facing starvation. On the other hand, we are facing 1.3 billion tons of food waste. The United Nations and every government are making efforts to find effective solutions in order to tackle the food waste issue by setting several goals.

Not only about food waste, but we are also facing an issue which is the Protein crisis. In order to serve every person in the world with enough nutritions, the balance of demand and supply of food will collapse in the very near future. Protein is one of the obvious cases. A person needs an average 50kg of protein a day, and soon we may consume 180 million tons of protein in the world.

Two issues of Food waste and Protein crisis. However there is an Estonian biotech startup trying to give an interesting solution to both issues.

BugBox’s founder Erlend Sild was travelling around the world and realised that food poverty affects many people. He often saw unhygienic and with high manual labour need insect farms. He wanted to change the world for the better – BugBox was founded in 2015 with the mission to provide a scalable and fully automated mass-rearing and production technology for the food industry as a more sustainable alternative to conventional animal protein production.

BugBox is addressing the rising global nutrition demand and food shortage by increasing affordable nutritious food supply also for developing countries. The company is offering cheaper, meat-free and more sustainable animal protein source alternatives to consumers, as BugBox is 200x more productive than manual rearing methods. Lowering the carbon footprint of the food industry, since insect farming requires 23x less water, 38x less land and produces almost 2000x fewer GHGs per 1 kg of protein compared to industrial livestock farming. Moreover, BugBox’s solution is zero-waste, uses green residues from the green companies as a food input and works on renewable energy.

BugBox is developing fully automated edible insect mass-rearing technology. It enables insect farmers to produce high quality protein food products derived from edible insects more effectively at large scale, while using fewer human resources in the standardised process. The key solution components are a fully automated mass-rearing reactor, control unit with sensors and self-learning IT-platform. The reactor control unit automatically executes the sensitive rearing process for crickets, ensuring optimal environmental conditions in the reactor without the need for human intervention. The self-learning IT-platform collects and analyses data from reactor sensors and downstream production units. It controls the full process with pre-programmed settings. In turn, the customer can monitor the production conditions and outputs using a user-friendly dashboard and control the process without extensive scientific knowledge.

BugBox aims to become the first and leading provider of fully automated insect mass-rearing technology to support the food industry transformation towards more sustainable protein sources. The company wants to solve the protein deficiency in the developing countries and make the food production process more sustainable.

BugBox has already confirmed clients and partners, but as the solution is right now being finalised, product tests with clients are expected in the near future.