Niwes Nantachit, President of Chiang Mai University, and Dr. Pairat Srichana, Senior Vice President of CP Foods, signed a contract to commercialize insect-based protein.
The Thai conglomerate said the partnership aims to move domestic agriculture towards sustainable growth. The parties said the project is also about maximizing circular economy opportunities as BSF larvae can efficiently recycle bio-waste.
CP Foods will fund the project and jointly develop a “smart” BSF farm in Thailand, a pilot production model that will also function as an educational initiative for students, farmers and the general public.
Dr. Yuthana Phimolsiripol, director of the Center for Food Innovation and Packaging (FIN) at Chiang Mai University, said the institution had conducted previous research into the possible uses of BSF products, such as the use of larval oil in skin care applications.
CP Foods noted that there has long been research into alternative sources of protein, ranging from plant-based, cell-based, and insect-based protein candidates to respond to growing sustainable food trends in Asia and ensure long-term food safety, too.
“Black Soldier Fly is a sustainable choice for alternative sources of protein and fat. We hope that our partnership with Chiang Mai University will pave the way for a sustainable and profitable insect industry in Thailand, ”said Dr. Pairat.
Thai venture fund supports breakthroughs in food technology
CP Foods isn’t the only food group headquartered in Thailand supporting the production of insect proteins.
Seafood giant Thai Union has invested in insect protein in recent years.
In October 2019, the Israeli insect breeding startup, Flying Spark, announced a strategic partnership and investment agreement with this fish producer. Funding from the Thai Union should enable the start-up to advance its insect cultivation and processing skills in Thailand.
This investment was the initial expense from the Thai Union’s Venture Fund, an initiative launched in 2019 with an initial commitment of $ 30 million to help innovative companies develop breakthrough technologies in food technology.
In September 2020, the fish company also invested in Manna Foods Co, an insect technology and e-commerce startup in the United States. This innovator was part of the first cohort of startups involved in SPACE-F, the first food technology incubator and accelerator program in Thailand, the founding partner of which is the Thai Union alongside Mahidol University and the Thai National Innovation Agency (NIA).