Government body Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada have invested up to CA$8.5 million into insect producer Aspire to support the development of sustainably grown food. The investment was announced by Francis Drouin, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, and is going towards the building of a commercial facility to produce cricket proteins.
Aspire aims to tackle global food insecurity by focusing on edible insect production, which can provide high volumes of food with a low environmental footprint. In doing so, Canada’s agricultural sector will be meeting demand for food more sustainably.
“Aspire is re-imagining what it means to sustainably produce food, and how smart technology can turn that vision into a reality,” says Francis Drouin. “Aspire’s innovative facility will help further establish London’s [Canada] reputation as a hub for cutting-edge technology, strongly contributing to Ontario and Canada’s position as an innovator in agriculture and agri-food.”
Funding under the AgriInnovate Program means Aspire will be using the latest technology to create ideal growing conditions for crickets at its facility based in London, Ontario. The company will be able to monitor and grow billions of crickets at one time, to provide nutrient-rich protein for health food and petfood markets. The technology will also cut costs of production.
Processing insects for food remains a relatively new sector for Canadian agriculture but is one they are keen to develop as an opportunity to meet global demand for food whilst using less water, energy and space and cutting back on greenhouse gas emissions produced during the production stage.
“Aspire is grateful to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada for its support of our first commercial facility. A growing population and increasing demand for food and material requires sustainable, scalable solutions that keep our world healthy,” concludes Mohammed Ashour, Co-Founder and CEO of Aspire.
Aspire uses technology including robotics and automated data collection to farm crickets, meeting the growing demands for alternate sources of protein. The market for petfood is exceeding US$90 billion, dwarfing demand for insects for human consumption which is valued at US$8 billion in the coming decade.
For more information on Aspire visit their website, HERE.