A short talk with Andreas Baumann (Expert Protein Value Chain), Bühler AG
Recently you’ve started an insect pilot-plant in China, can you tell us more about?
We set up the pilot plant with a partner, who grows fly larvae. We installed equipment for processing the fully grown larvae on an industrial scale. The aim is to produce insect meal as a replacement of fishmeal plus a high-grade fat with properties similar to those of palm kernel oil.
Why China and not Thailand, Cambodia or Vietnam, for example?
Bühler has been operating in China since the 1980’s, with its headquarters located in Wuxi. With this strong base and the tight network of service stations all over Asia, we can take care of the individual needs of all customers located in Asia.
What’s your opinion about the actual chinese market for insects-derived products?
It is still a niche market. It still needs scale-up and automation of the insect production and processing systems in order to ensure reliable supply with consistent quality with reasonable costs.
And what’s your forecast for the near future?
In the near future, I see main application of the insect proteins in aquaculture as a replacer for fishmeal. Today China imports more than 70% of its fishmeal consumption.
Will entomophagy have a huge market-potential also in western world?
The potential is definitively there, but since a change of our mindset is needed, it will take time. In addition, it will be crucial to implement a sophisticated food safety concept.