Insects on the menu

Insectes au menu

In regards to the food they consume, more and more people have environmental concerns and wish to make a fair handling of the animals.

Thus, it is estimated that approximately one-third of North Americans to avoid eating meat at least one day per week. In addition, a survey carried out in 2015 reports that 56 % of the French say they eat less meat than in years past, compared to only 3 % who have increased their consumption.

Practiced by approximately two billion human beings, the consumption of insects is seen by many people as an alternative to ecological-based diet of red meat. Already widespread in the traditional cultures of several parts of Latin America, Africa and Asia, the entomophagie – a term which means the consumption of insects – is beginning to spark some interest in Europe and in North America.

It is in this spirit that are born recently various companies specialized in the breeding of insects for human consumption. Founded in 2019 by Louise Héneault-Éthier and Didier Marquis, TriCycle is one of these pioneering companies dedicated to the breeding of insects. The main insect currently the subject of an industrial farming by start-up companies are locusts, crickets, flies, black soldiers as well as the ténébrions (also known as mealworms), the latter species being the one that is mainly high in TriCycle.

Louise Héneault-Éthier and Didier Marquis, founder of the farm-reared insects TriCycle.

Farming ecological

The insect production is especially eco-friendly if compared to the cattle breeding typical. In this respect, the production of one kilogram of beef requires 30 to 40 pounds of grain and fodder, while a kilogram of insects requires a contribution of 1 to 5 kg of plants only. In addition, the majority of vegetable substances – 94 % – offered to the insects high in a TriCycle from a 5-km radius of the farm, which is located near the central Market in Montreal. Distillers brewers of beer, waste from bakeries and fruit pulp from the juice production constitute the major part of the diet of insects reared in this farm.

Food galore

The farm TriCycle product each year 60 millions of insects on an area of only 60 square metres ! The ténébrions are high in bins, which are themselves arranged on shelves. The insects are fed and are moved regularly depending on their stage of development.

The ténébrions are among the edible insects the easiest to raise.

Two products are offered by TriCycle, or the insects whole and powdered insects. The powder can be used for the production of protein bars, pellets of burger, bread, and pasta. Various recipes based on insects have also been developed by the company in collaboration with ITHQ, and some reputable chefs such as Bob the Head, which of the puree, the pie, the pie
jamaican and dumplings !

Fertilizer

The insects bred by the farm TriCycle are marketed in the form of ténébrions whole and powder ténébrions.

In addition to producing an impressive quantity of insects, the farm Tri-Cycle also generates the frass. This substance, a strange name is in fact made up of manure and cast skins of the insects. The insects go through various stages of growth that involve a change of their skeleton is external. These exoskeletons, also called driven, and they are thus mixed in the manure.

The frass is a fertilizer very little smell which takes on the appearance of a flour of a beige colour. It contains approximately 3 % nitrogen, 4 % phosphorus and 2 % potassium. In addition, we found in this fertilizer a significant amount of chitin, a substance that stimulates the microbial life in the soil and improves the rooting, growth and development of plants. Some scientific studies have also shown that chitin enhances the resistance of plants to drought.

The main advantages of breeding edible insects

  • The breeding of insects can be made from organic waste and allows the recycling of the latter, avoiding their disposal in landfill.
  • Rearing insects uses less water and produces less greenhouse gas than livestock.
  • The insects reproduce rapidly and can be high on small surfaces.
  • Insects are a food resource, healthy and nutritious, rich in fats, proteins, vitamins, fiber and minerals.

The breeding of edible insects around the world

In various locations in North America and Europe, we are witnessing the birth of an industry engaged in the breeding of insects. The young entrepreneurs who are embarking on the breeding of insects are filled with enthusiasm, projects, and ideas for increasing the production and consumption of these new sources of protein.

In France, a company made a fundraising record of 110 million euros to finance the largest factory world production of insects in Poulainville, in the Hauts-de-France.

Entomo Farms, a major Ontario company that raises only the crickets with the support of some big players of the food industry, including Maple Leaf, which became one of the shareholders in 2018 and Loblaws that sells the products. Their biggest market, for the moment, is located in Quebec.

In Quebec, there are now close to forty businesses that raise edible insects. An association of producers and processors of insects has also emerged recently in Quebec.

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