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Harnessing the superpowers of insects

Nov 25, 2022

Does your cat love to catch and eat flies? He’s a carnivore, after all! Now he can chow down on his favourite wee beasties right in his food, thanks to Entosystem.

Entosystem produces insect proteins for animal consumption and reduces food waste in the process. That’s right. The company recovers rejected fruits and vegetables from grocery stores and restaurants and downgraded grains from mills to feed its insect larvae.

Flies to the rescue

How do you convert enormous quantities of organic matter into a source of high-quality protein in record time? By using insects, specifically, the black soldier fly, which is a non-harmful species native to the American continent.

  • Turning 90,000 tonnes of organic matter;
  • into 5,000 tonnes of black soldier fly larvae;
  • and 12,000 tonnes of organic fertilizer

Entosystem uses the fly larvae, which have exceptional nutritional value, to replace soy and fish protein in livestock feed and pet food.

In just six days, the larvae process the food into proteins, fats and other nutrients. Once the larvae have reached the desired maturity, they are dried and crushed into a rich flour used in the manufacturing of animal food. This zero-waste circular process also transforms the insect droppings, or frass, into an excellent fertilizer approved for organic crops.

Keen environmental awareness

From the moment they first met, Entosystem’s two co-founders discovered commonalities in their views, which they took as their inspiration. “We both wanted to do something big for the planet and with our entrepreneurial vision we were able to create Entosystem,” says president and co-founder Cédric Provost.

Provost and co-founder Jean-François Dépelteau set up a larvae farm in their apartment using plastic bins and lived with their insects for a year and a half. The roommates even developed prototypes of their production equipment in the apartment.

Times have changed and Entosystem is currently building a new ultramodern 100,000-sq. ft. facility in Drummondville, which required an investment of over $62 million, including a $10 million loan from FCC. The facility will be operational by March 2023 and will help create 70 new jobs.

More digestible protein for poultry

According to research by McDonald’s, insect protein is more digestible in poultry diets than plant protein, which has a positive impact on litter quality and animal welfare.

“I heard a McDonald’s spokesperson say that his dream was to serve his customers insect-fed chicken,” says Provost. “My dream was to provide the insect protein to poultry producers who supply McDonald’s restaurants.”

Pioneering project

“The founders’ business maturity really impressed me,” says Manuel Vaillancourt, Senior Relationship Manager at FCC. “They did their homework. They put in place optimal agricultural science production parameters. Their concept is state-of-the-art agriculture in every respect.”

According to Provost, one of the priorities for the construction project was to ensure efficient ventilation. To address that challenge, 30-metre chimney stacks will be installed to remove heat and moisture.

The building’s technological performance will also give the company an advantage on the environmental front. “Our goal is to capture the North American market before major foreign companies set up shop here. Ultimately, we’ll even be able to sell carbon credits to corporate polluters,” he says proudly.

In Canada, nearly 58% of all food produced goes to waste. This food waste represents a loss of over $30 billion a year. Thanks to businesses like Entosystem, some of that food will now be recovered. By promoting more solutions to the food waste problem in Canada, we can strengthen our food systems and support Canada’s transition to a greener economy.