Via a direct equity investment, the American food giant will acquire a minority stake in Protix, and eventually create an "insect ingredient facility" to manufacture bug-based protein in the United States.
In an October 17 statement, Tyson Foods revealed that when the proposed plant is completed, it will be "the first at-scale facility of its kind to upcycle food manufacturing byproducts into high-quality insect proteins and lipids which will primarily be used in the pet food, aquaculture, and livestock industries."
"Our partnership with Protix represents the latest strategic investment by Tyson Foods in groundbreaking solutions that drive added value to Tyson Foods’ business," said Chief Financial Officer John Tyson. "The insect lifecycle provides the opportunity for full circularity within our value chain, strengthening our commitment to building a more sustainable food system for the future."
The CEO of Protix, Kees Aarts, called the agreement "a major milestone for Protix and significantly accelerates our ambition to grow through international partnerships," and noted that the company could "immediately use [Tyson Foods'] existing byproducts as feedstock for our insects."
Protix, founded in 2019, is one of the largest manufacturers of insect ingredients in the world, producing and processing 14,000 metric tons per year in the Netherlands. While most of its products are used in pet food, aquaculture feed, livestock feed and organic fertilizer industries, bug-based protein has been pushed for human consumption by some.
According to the Ecologist, many insects "provide high-quality complete protein," meaning they "contain all nine essential amino acids and are rich in fibre, iron and calcium." While many in the West have come out strongly in opposition to the idea of eating bugs, the idea has been touted by some for developing nations.
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