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In my MBA program at the University of Wisconsin, we're working on a business plan for a cost-efficient industrial-scale insect food processing business.
I feel there's a lot of focus on the farming and the consumer product development for insect foods, and there might be an opportunity to enable the entire value chain by building up a processing business that would be able to buy the crickets from the farmers, process them to a powder, and then cheaply sell that to consumer product manufacturers.
It would be great to hear your thoughts or be directed to resources about the processing issues. Ideally, we would like the process to achieve 3 goals with the cricket powder: • Cheaper cricket powder than currently available • Safer product with supply from approved farmers (that follow Codex Alimentarius food safety guidelines) and with processing according to strict food safety standards (HACCP) • More nutritious powder with process that preserves crickets nutrients
We're at the beginning of this, so have some big issues to work through. Some key questions occur to us now... --Is it more efficient for the farming to be separate or combined? It seems that each effort (the farming and the processing) require a complete separate set of expertise, equipment, and process, and it would be more efficient now at this stage in the industry's early phase to have separate firms focused on each. Are there particular issues specifically related to insect husbandry where it would actually make more sense to do both under one roof? --What are the processes currently being used and who is providing them currently for the current insect food consumer products (Chapul, Exo, bitty) ? We've heard of meat-grinding and flour milling type methods. What are the advantages, disadvantages? What is the equipment involved? We found that heating/boiling can reduce the nutritional content of crickets. Freezing also came up, but that seems like it would be too costly.
Would be great to hear from anyone has any suggestions/comments on the above or who is working through similar issues.
Best, Eric, firstname.lastname@example.org