Scale and automation… Aspire Food Group gears up to open world’s largest edible cricket processing facility

If crickets – which are hugely attractive both from a nutritional and sustainability perspective – are going to carve out a meaningful space in the alternative protein arena, two things need to happen before you even start a conversation about consumer education, said COO Gabe MOtt: Costs must come down and supplies of consistent, high-quality raw materials must go up, the two motivating factors behind Aspire’s​new plant.

“I’d say we could see close to an order of magnitude drop in price ​[once the multi-million-dollar facility is up and running] although the costs of production for any livestock operation are going up right now, from the cost of steel to freight to animal feed, and we’re all in something of a hyperinflationary cycle,” ​he told FoodNavigator-USA.

A chicken and egg situation…

Stepping back, he said, ​“There’s always been this chicken and egg problem in the human food industry. No large CPG companies are going to incorporate insects because the cost is too high and the supply chain is too unpredictable, and nobody is going to invest in establishing a robust supply chain if nobody’s buying it.

“We were very fortunate to find some really significant partners that were willing to commit to purchasing the majority of the production of the operation in Canada before we had even broken ground. So the bulk of it is going to a pet food company, but this will open up the human market as well.”

He added: “If you look at the companies that have failed at making those human food products ​[using edible insects], there’s been a host of variables, but the cost and unpredictable supply has been the real challenge.

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