Q: Will a meatless food industry featuring lab-grown meat, seafood substitutes, and insect protein be the future of food?
A: Yes, food giants from Tyson to Cargill are working to navigate a future where protein isn’t dominated by traditional animal sources where approximately 43 kg of meat per capita have been consumed every year over the last few years, a number that has grown by 20 kg since 1961.
Q: Why now?
A: Urbanization, population growth, and a rising middle class lead to greater meat consumption.
Alternative protein sources can reduce negative environmental impact and contamination.
Consumers are seeking healthier, more sustainable food alternatives.
Advances in ag tech and synthetic biology are enabling high-tech meatless products.
Q: How can new startups threaten the meat production value chain?
A:Startups are disrupting the meat production value chain through the development of high-tech protein products — threatening established players like Tyson, which is an aggressive participant in the alternative protein movement.
Meat substitute startups are not only competing with prepared and frozen meats, but are also creating alternative snacks.
Q: So this means that insect protein goes mainstream?
A: Yes, Cricket-raising results in 100x lower greenhouse gas emissions than beef cow production, and crickets also have higher proportions of protein than beef or chicken. And because crickets require proportionally less feed than livestock animals, production is more efficient.
Efforts to develop financially viable, tasty insect-based food solutions have attracted the attention and funding of major foundations and companies.
Q: Concerning greenhouse gas emissions, can you explain that a bit further?
A: Switching from beef to alternative proteins can lead to significant reductions in greenhouse‐gas emissions, especially for transitions to plant‐ or insect‐based alternatives. While current estimates of emissions from cultured beef suggest only modest reductions, depending on how production of cultured beef is scaled up.
Q: How abut emission intensities of the different food types?
A: Referring to a white paper from the World Economic Forum “Meat: The Future series – Alternative Proteins” published 2019, beef has the highest emission intensity of approximately 24 kg of carbon dioxide equivalents per 200 kcal compared to insects that has approximately 1 kg of carbon dioxide equivalents per 200 kcal.
Q: How does it look if we instead compare the estimated current prices of the different food types?
A: Referring to the same white paper, on current prices, alternative proteins are not always competitive with meat. The most novel alternatives are expensive, but will undoubtedly fall in price as production is scaled up. Unless interventions are made, however, pricing will not necessarily align with the benefits for health, nutrition and the environment.
Q: So, what are you doing to make edible cricket products less expensive compared to other food types?
With fully or semi automatic production depending where the EntoPark is located, we can come down in very low production cost per kg of dry crickets. One EntoFarm is planned to produce more than 350 tons of dry crickets per annum based on our EntoBox solution (patent pending).
We also believe that cross-border co-operations as well as mergers and acquisitions will be done among some key players on the market to receive synergies and lower production costs. In Thailand both Global Bugs Asia and Global Bugs Trading are supported by the Board of Investment which among several incentives gives us tax exemptions for 5-8 years on company tax and dividends.