Tyson Foods Celebrates Entry Into The Bug-Based Protein Market

In an ostensible effort to protect the environment and provide food for a growing population, a collection of influential global elites have spent years touting the supposed benefits of using bugs as a source of protein in the human diet.

The World Economic Forum, for example, proclaimed that “eating insects could reduce climate change” and blamed “our consumption of animal protein” for increasing the amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.

An op-ed published by The New York Times last year similarly made the case for eating insects, citing a “growing tribe of environmentalists, academics and entrepreneurs” who insist “that edible insects must enjoy a wider acceptance to help create a more sustainable global food system.”

Now, one major food company is on board. Tyson Foods recently confirmed that it is working with a Dutch manufacturer that specializes in using bugs to create what it calls “more sustainable protein production.”

The U.S. company obtained a minority stake in Protix with the goal of establishing a domestic “insect ingredient facility” to feed insect-laden products to American consumers.
While the concept might understandably repulse many would-be customers, Tyson Foods released a statement celebrating its plan and claimed that the resulting proteins would “primarily be used in the pet food, aquaculture, and livestock industries.”

Of course, the company is best known for selling protein meant for human consumption and a statement from CFO John Tyson left open the possibility that insects could become a part of various aspects of its business.

“Our partnership with Protix represents the latest strategic investment by Tyson Foods in groundbreaking solutions that drive added value to Tyson Foods’ business,” he said. “The insect lifecycle provides the opportunity for full circularity within our value chain, strengthening our commitment to building a more sustainable food system for the future.”

Protix CEO Kees Aarts also touted the partnership as mutually beneficial, calling it “a major milestone” for the company that “significantly accelerates our ambition to grow through international partnerships.”

Furthermore, he affirmed that Tyson Foods’ “existing byproducts” could be used “as feedstock for our insects.”

Although a timeline for its completion is not yet available, Tyson Foods’ statement confirmed that the plant “will house an enclosed system to support all aspects of insect protein production including the breeding, incubating, and hatching of insect larvae.”