This major meat company is going to try and sell you bug burgers

Photo by Alpha, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Flickr,

There is no doubt there is a war against meat going on.

Vegans and environmental extremists keep claiming that cow farts are destroying the environment.

But now this major meat company has decided to join them instead of fighting them and is plotting to sell you bug burgers.

One of the country’s major meatpacking companies, Tyson Foods, has invested in a Netherlands-based insect company.

The company, Protix, claims to be “the leading fully integrated global insect ingredients company.” 

Protix produces products to be fed to pets and livestock, with the aim of creating “low footprint proteins” and “nutrients that can be processed into more sustainable feed and food” from insects.

Because of increased pressure from environmentalist groups, large corporations are now looking at bugs, such as the black soldier flies farmed by Protix, as a lower-carbon source of protein.

The investment will eventually lead to a plant being developed in the U.S. sometime during or after 2025.

The new plant will house all steps of bug-protein production, including the breeding, incubating, and hatching of insect larvae. 

The new facility is slated to be four times larger than the existing facility in the Netherlands.

This new move promises a new avenue for expansion and a new feedstock for the billions of chickens and hogs it raises every year.

Waste from Tyson meat packing operations will be used to feed the flies.

The Arkansas-based Tyson produces 20% of the beef, chicken, and pork consumed in the U.S.

Tyson CFO: Good for people, the planet and animals

Tyson Chief Financial Officer John Tyson said in an interview, “It’s a multibillion-dollar industry opportunity that has tremendous growth potential, and we see Protix as being a leader there. In the long run, insect-protein inclusion in animal-feed diets can be a real thing that exists and can be one that is good for people, planet and animals.”

Food Safety Specialist: The American public isn’t there

Wade Syers, Extension Specialist for Food Safety Michigan State University, believes that livestock producers need not worry about insect protein replacing beef, pork, lamb, or chicken.

Syers told Tri-State Livestock News, “In the U.S., public sentiment is shifting so more people are open to the idea of eating insects, but doing so remains uncommon.”

Kalidas Shetty, founding Director of the Global Institute of Food Security & International Agriculture, echoed that sentiment saying, “There are many cultural drivers to how and why we eat what we do. I don’t think we’ll lose that globally. If you’re eating a steak or chicken prepared a certain way, there’s a cultural context to it, and it’s hard to replace that with anything else. If a consumer wants chicken or beef, they want the real thing.”

Certainly, that’s comforting news to carnivores as the World Economic Forum has been advocating bug-eating for years.

According to Shetty, insect consumption by humans is common globally, even if not here in the United States.

He points out that in China grubs are often served, and in Korea, silkworm pupae are cooked and eaten like peanuts, often sold outside Buddhist temples alongside regular salted and cooked peanuts.

Informed American will keep you up-to-date on any developments to this ongoing story.