Bühler opens Insect Technology Center to support innovation in food and feed industries

SWITZERLAND — Bühler Group, a Swiss multinational plant equipment manufacturer, has opened a world-class Insect Technology Center (ITC) in Uzwil, Switzerland, to support the continuing development of the industry for the food and animal feed markets.

The ITC, which obtained funding from Switzerland’s Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) due to its contribution to a more sustainable food system, is already in operation

Bühler is committed to building a more sustainable food system and the combination of high protein content and low carbon footprint makes the use of insects as an alternative protein source for animal feed a promising solution to reduce the environmental impacts of agriculture.

The use of insects for human consumption is also receiving increased attention globally. Academic, industry, and government-led efforts have attempted to reduce negative perceptions of insects through, among other ways, developing palatable processing methods.

“Over the last years, we have gained expertise and maturity to serve different customers in the insect industry with the most adequate and reliable solutions.

With our new facility, we extend our services and can even better support our customers in installing an industrial insect plant,” said Andreas Baumann, head of Market Segment Insect Technology at Bühler.

The focus at the facility is on the production of the two most relevant insect species for industrial production, namely, Black soldier fly (BSF) and mealworms.

The facility brings together Bühler’s expertise and the best infrastructure. In it, larvae growth trials can be conducted with various feedstock, product samples can be developed, and breed solutions can be evaluated and tested.

The center has two insect growth chambers that can mimic industrial production conditions. These are climate controlled and are equipped with numerous sensors that provide process insights.

Based on the collected data, the correct parameters and practices can be determined to ensure an efficient insect production at industrial scale.

This allows customers to directly envision commercially attractive plant sizes instead of investing in expensive pilot plants to demonstrate technological feasibility.

“In combination with the operational know-how exchange, we see enormous potential to reduce the overall time from the project idea to a successfully performing plant,” Baumann said.

Additionally, since the chambers are mobile, they can be sent to any location, thus making the infrastructure accessible to customers worldwide.

According to Fortune Business Insights, the global insect protein market is projected to grow from US$189.32 million in 2022 to US$856.08 million by 2029, exhibiting a CAGR of 24.1% in the forecast period.

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