Tyson Foods has announced its investment in Protix, a Netherlands-based company which creates insect food products and also plans to build a factory in the United States.
For the present, at least, the black soldier flies which will be grown at the facility on a diet of animal waste will be used for pet, poultry, and fish food. However, the decision by the Tyson company seems to be related to a larger push by environmentalists for people worldwide to start making insects a dietary staple.
While it has not begun to incorporate insects into its line of protein products alongside the beef, pork, and chicken it is known for, Tyson’s meat production is apparently going to be closely linked with raising the edible insects.
Byproducts of slaughtered animals, ranging from hides to stomach contents and inedible tissues, will be utilized to feed the crop of insects being grown at the Protix factory. Rather than foisting bugs on people by means of their investment, ostensibly at least, Tyson seems to be making the investment as a way to profit from waste products that would otherwise be disposed of without bringing any additional revenue.
Despite Tyson’s investment appearing on the surface to be profit-motivated, the movement towards insects as food has been given increasingly vocal support, and Protix is one of the more prominent companies specializing in producing these kinds of products. Founded in 2009, Protix describes itself as “leading the way in creating a sustainable food system by developing ingredients from insects.” Notably, Protix highlights the way in which “insects have the amazing ability to turn low-grade food waste into valuable high-end proteins and fats.”
At present, it looks like insects will remain off the plates of Tyson customers for the time being. Yet, if Tyson is willing to invest in producing insects for animal feed using the waste of animals by a company which describes itself as leading the way to normalizing insect consumption, it seems that it will only be a matter of time before it is mankind’s turn to take a bite.