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Insect breeding startup focuses on pet food as a gateway to human nutrition

Evolving views on food are challenging traditional diets – and not just for humans. Innovative dining options are also added to the menus for our pets.

Startups have proposed countless new ways to satisfy their hunger. The British Bella and Dukefocuses on animals with a raw diet, for example, while Swedish Buddy Pet Foods serves natural dry food and Portuguese Barkyn personalizes their food.

If none of these tickle their taste buds, our furry friends can try a more avant-garde delicacy: insects.

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It is cooked in the kitchen FlyFeed, an Estonia-based startup. The company has developed an automated breeding system that converts fly larvae into animal feed.

“It’s a challenge for humans, but a no-brainer for animals.

Arseniy Olkhovskiy, who founded FlyFeed in 2021, said the concept came from research into malnutrition. He concluded that insect farming can offer an affordable and sustainable solution for protein shortages. But he plans to feed animals before approaching humans.

“It’s a challenge in human food right now, because people don’t really want to eat anything that has to do with insects — but it’s a good idea in animal nutrition,” Olkhovskiy told TNW.

The 24-year-old rattles through a long list of benefits of raising insects: they get to eat reprocessed waste that would otherwise rot in landfills; they grow up to 100 times faster than conventional animal food sources; they are rich in high-quality nutrients; their production costs are minimal; and they require far fewer natural resources than traditional agriculture.

Olkhovskiy promises that they are also very tasty for pets. He says his own cat is a fan of the flavours.

Arseniy Olkhovskiy, 24, who has studied more than 40 alternative food production technologies and claims insect protein meal could become three times cheaper than chicken meat by 2027