AgriProtein plans to produce protein for aquafeed from fly larvae in the UK within three years. Photo: AgriProtein

Aquafeed fly farmer creates a buzz in business

Fly farmer AgriProtein has been named in a "top 10" of 2017 disruptive businesses. The firm uses black soldier fly larvae to convert food waste into a sustainable protein that can be used to replace fishmeal in aquaculture.

AgriProtein, which moved its headquarters from South Africa to London earlier this year, has been named a top 10 Virgin Media Business Disruptor to Watch in the Fast Track 2017, published in the Sunday Times.

Super fly guy: AgriProtein chief executive Jason Drew. Photo: Agriprotein

The company has fly farm projects under development in several countries to produce its MagMeal product for the aquafeed market and ultimately for poultry, pigs and petfood.

‘Eight years of perseverance’

AgriProtein co-founder and chief executive, Jason Drew, said: “Our success is the fruit of eight years of perseverance in the face of failure. Soon people will consider the upcycling of nutrients just as normal as they consider the recycling of paper, plastics, metals and glass to be today. The bigger we get, the greater the benefit to the environment.”

Peter Kelly, managing director of Virgin Media Business, said: “We are delighted to name AgriProtein as one of the UK’s most disruptive businesses.  They have seen an opportunity and made it their purpose to disrupt long-established markets and practices, creating an entirely new industry to great success.”

AgriProtein moved its HQ to London to coincide with a change in EU regulations, which have permitted the use of insect-based nutrients in aquafeed since July.

UK factories within three years

In June, Drew told fishfarmingexpert.com that the company aimed to have factories up and running in the UK within three years to supply the aquafeed market.

He said at the time: “Our teams are actively developing a number of UK sites at the moment. Whilst our build time is typically only 12 months, this is once we have EIA (environmental impact assessment) and other planning permissions which can take 12- 24 months to obtain.

“We hope that we will have product available made in the UK and for the UK market within the next three years.”

Global champion

The company has allocated licences in the US, Asia, Australasia and the Middle East. In February it announced a partnership with Austrian engineers Christof Industries enabling it to roll out its fly factory blueprint on a turnkey basis anywhere in the world at the rate of 25 per year.

AgriProtein achieved the goal of making its product commercially competitive in 2015 at its first 9,000m² fly-farm in Cape Town. In November 2016 the company raised $17.5 million for further expansion, valuing it at $117m and making it the most valuable fly-farming business in the world.

In September MagMeal was named the BBC Food Chain Global Champion 2017 for helping secure the future of food while delivering significant environmental benefits.

Published: 04/12/2017 at 9:56 am


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