This French startup just raised $15M to make food out of mealworms

insects for protein ynsect track 280382 1920 cropped
Pixabay / PixelAnarchy
French startup Ynsect wants you to eat bugs — eventually. For now, it’s focusing on creating insect protein to feed farmed animals a healthier, more eco-conscious diet.

After raising just over $15 million in investment funding, Ynsect to expand its production capacity to produce 20,000 metric tons of insect protein each year. That’s a lot of bugs. Ynsect’s process starts by growing and farming mealworm larvae and turning it into a de-fatted protein meal to be used in animal feed and pet food. To supercharge this system, the company uses a mixture of robotics and artificial intelligence to grow the worms with the utmost efficiency.

Producing at a higher capacity means that Ynsect will be able to expand from selling its product primarily as feed to fish farms and into a larger animal market. And that has the potential to have a major impact on the agriculture industry.

“Few people today are aware of how the animals they eat have been fed,” Ynsect CEO Antoine Hubert said in a press release. “In fact, farmed animals mostly consume GM soya, grains, and sometimes poultry feather, as well as fish meal. It was the fish meal, in particular, which caught our attention.”

Fish meal is created from smaller fish, which are in danger of overfishing, Hubert said. “In turn, that’s causing severe depletion of ocean biodiversity, and leading to food safety concerns due to the high content of heavy metals which bio-accumulate within dwindling fish stocks.”

Ynsect’s insect protein is the company’s answer to that problem, given how sustainable the process in creating it is. The company uses all parts of the insect, creating very little waste. And after all, plenty of animals would already be eating insects in the wild.

With a total of $37 million in funding thus far — and certainly with more funding to come — Ynsect plans to expand eventually into human nutrition, nutraceuticals, and green chemistry. But don’t worry, that’ll come later. You don’t have to consume bugs just yet. For now, you can start by warming up to the idea of feeding bug-based, protein-rich food to your pets.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Grow veggies indoors and shower more efficiently

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in February, from 'Buster Scruggs’ to 'Roma'

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix right now (February 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Smart Home

Researchers are once again trying to science the gluten out of bread

If you've ever found gluten tough to stomach, help may be on the way. Researchers and farmers are exploring solutions that include gene-edited bread, as well as alterations to carbs and fiber.
Emerging Tech

Bees can do arithmetic, setting the scientific community abuzz

A new study has found something remarkable: Bees can do basic arithmetic. Researchers showed that bees could use colors as representations for numbers and then use those colors for addition and subtraction.
Emerging Tech

DeepSqueak is a machine learning A.I. that reveals what rats are chatting about

Want to know what rats are squeaking about? You'd better check out DeepSqueak, the new deep learning artificial intelligence developed by researchers at the University of Washington.
Health & Fitness

Immune cell discovery takes us one step closer to a universal flu vaccine

A group of international researchers have made a discovery which could take us one step closer to the universal, one-shot flu vaccine that people around the world have been dreaming of.
Photography

NASA celebrates Earth’s incredible natural beauty with free photo book

NASA has published a fabulous new book featuring stunning imagery captured by its satellites over the years. A hardback version is available for $53, though it can also be downloaded to ebook readers for free, and enjoyed online.
Deals

This new all-in-one flashlight is a power bank, lighter, and screwdriver

The Pyyros modular flashlight can perform numerous field tasks, from hammering to starting fires. If you back it on Kickstarter now, you can score some savings on this innovative flashlight and multi-tool, but act fast: This early-bird…
Movies & TV

Hilarious new Kickstarter aims to fix Scorcese’s last scene in The Departed

A fan of The Departed and apparent hater of rat-as-symbolism imagery has launched a Kickstarter campaign to digitally erase the rodent from the end of Martin Scorsese’s 2006 movie.
Emerging Tech

Baristas beware, Bbox cafe uses robots to brew your morning coffee

Want your morning coffee and pastry prepared by robot? Bbox, a new coffee shop in downtown Berkeley, California, lets customers place their order by app and then uses automation to take care of the rest.
Emerging Tech

This ridiculous new flamethrower makes Elon Musk’s look like a cigarette lighter

The XL18 Flamethrower is a flame-shooting beast on steroids, capable of firing off bursts of flame more than 110 feet in length. The best part? You can order it over the internet today.
Emerging Tech

SpaceX just nailed its most challenging Falcon 9 rocket landing to date

If you've been following the SpaceX launch calendar, you know this week marks the first launch from Cape Canaveral in two months. We have the details on where you can watch the launch live.
Emerging Tech

Touchdown! Japan successfully lands its Hayabusa2 spacecraft on asteroid Ryugu

Japan's space agency has just completed the latest stage of its extraordinarily complex mission, successfully landing its Hayabusa2 spacecraft on an asteroid millions of miles from Earth.