Grub’s up — startup thinks the next great sustainable food is … fly larvae?

larvae
Whether it’s lab-grown meat or “seafood” made out of red algae, there is no shortage of innovative startups in the sustainable food space. Broadly speaking, all of them are working to solve the same problem: How to produce large quantities of food in a way that does not damage the environment. It’s the means by which these companies are trying to solve the problem where the differences become apparent, however. New U.K.-based startup Entocycle’s idea? Using black soldier fly larvae as a sustainable source of protein, capable of feeding animals and — one day — potentially humans as well.

“Our mission is to bring a stop to the degradation of our beautiful planet and stop taxing its finite natural resources,” Keiran Olivares Whitaker, CEO and founder of Entocycle, told Digital Trends. “For 60-odd years mankind has savaged seas and rainforests in order to farm fish and grow crops to feed to animals for meat. So much so that 50 percent of our fish populations have crashed in the last four decades, and 4 million hectares of rainforest are cleared each year for crops. Animals don’t need fishmeal or soy meal to be healthy. We can feed them insects instead — which is many animals’ natural choice in the wild anyway.”

Insects can be farmed more efficiently and sustainably than any other crop and black soldier flies are better in this regard than most other insects. For example, while crickets can be made into protein feed, they need to be fed on chicken feed or flour. The larvae of black soldier flies, meanwhile, will eat virtually any waste food, which they then convert into protein and fertilizer. It’s a simple and natural process, which Entocycle then hones with some cutting-edge technologies — including smart pods that gather constant analytics about the insects and their development.

At present, Whitaker says the company is focused on its mission of making animal feed. That remit is likely to expand in the future, though.

“We have big ambitions and so we would be keen to explore producing insects for the human diet in future because it just makes so much sense to,” he continued. “They are highly nutritious, the black soldier fly doesn’t carry disease, and is a completely sustainable source of food. Once people are over the ‘ick’ factor — which is only really a prevailing attitude in the west — then there is nothing to stop insects becoming part of a person’s regular, healthy diet. It would take a great shift in attitudes and behavior, and I think we would very much one day aim to be a part of that.”

Grub’s up!

Product Review

Airselfie 2 may as well be a GoPro stapled to a drunk hummingbird

On paper, the Airselfie 2 is marketed as flying photographer that fits in your pocket and snaps selfies from the sky. Unfortunately it’s more like a HandiCam controlled by a swarm of intoxicated bumblebees
Movies & TV

Stay inside this fall with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Castle Rock'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we've put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in November, from 'Buster Scruggs’ to ‘Dracula’

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.
Gaming

These are the best Xbox One games available right now

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From 'Cuphead' to 'Halo 5,' the best Xbox One games offer something for everyone.
Mobile

These 100 best iPhone apps will turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

The iPhone is the most popular smartphone in the world, and we want to bring out the best in yours. Behold our comprehensive list of the best iPhone apps, from time-saving productivity tools to fun apps you won’t be able to put down.
Emerging Tech

Hotter than the sun: Chinese fusion reactor claims breakthrough

China’s “artificial sun” has reached a temperature of 180 million ºF with a heating power of 10 megawatts -- six times hotter than the center of the sun. The achievement could mark progress towards fusion as a clean energy source.
Emerging Tech

Microsoft’s friendly new A.I wants to figure out what you want — before you ask

Move over Siri and Alexa! Microsoft wants to build a new type of virtual assistant that wants to be your friend. Already making waves in Asia, could this be the future of A.I. BFFs?
Emerging Tech

Warm up or cool down with the press of a button on the wrist-worn Embr

We review the Embr Wave, a personal heating and cooling wearable designed by a team of MIT engineers that’s now on Kickstarter. Our thoughts? It’s a little bit addictive.
Emerging Tech

Hope it doesn’t melt! Rocket to ISS carries vital supplies — including ice cream

A rocket has launched over Virginia's eastern shore, carrying supplies to the International Space Station (ISS). Inside the spacecraft are supplies for the ISS itself and the crew onboard, such as scientific equipment and food.
Emerging Tech

‘Super-Earth’ discovered orbiting nearby star

Astronomers have discovered a large planet circling a sun nearby to Earth called Barnard's Star. The potential new planet is thought to be cold and icy and has a size of around 3.2 times the Earth.
Emerging Tech

OSIRIS-REx spacecraft successfully tests its asteroid-sampling arm

The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, launched in September 2016, is closing in on its target of the Bennu asteroid. The craft has now unfurled its robotic arm, called the Touch-and-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSAM), and tested it successfully.
Product Review

DJI has always been the king of drones, and the new Mavics are almost perfect

After flying both the Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom for over a week, we’re convinced that these are two of the best drones that DJI has ever made.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: A.I. selfie drones, ‘invisible’ wireless chargers

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!
Deals

Cyber Monday 2018: When it takes place and where to find the best deals

Cyber Monday is still a ways off, but it's never too early to start planning ahead. With so many different deals to choose from during one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year, going in with a little know-how makes all the…