Fruit fly farming start-up to harvest clean, high-protein ingredient

Thursday, 07 September, 2017

Flying spark dry maggots 2

Israeli start-up Flying SpArk is farming Mediterranean fruit flies to harvest a high-protein, odourless, nearly cholesterol-free ingredient for human consumption. Rich in calcium, iron and potassium, the ingredient is sustainably produced — and Flying SpArk hopes it can be used to address shortages in global nutrition.

Between 2011 and 2015 global consumption of edible insects grew more than 58% (admittedly from a small base), according to Innova Market Insights. Crickets and cricket flour were the most common insect ingredients. Requiring minimal water and almost no land, the fruit flies harvest themselves with no human intervention, which allows for clean farming.

The high demand for sustainable protein, combined with innovative technology, has driven strong support for Flying SpArk. The company has raised $1 million with the help of the Israel Innovation Authority and The Kitchen, a food-tech incubator sponsored by the Strauss Group (one of the largest food conglomerates in Israel). Over the last 12 months, Flying SpArk has made significant inroads toward building the infrastructure and technologies integral to developing its products.

Now the company has been selected to join nine other start-ups at the IKEA product development centre in Älmhult, Sweden.

At the IKEA Bootcamp, start-up accelerator IKEA will mentor and work with the Flying SpArk team to develop a product and hopefully launch it at IKEA’s restaurants.

The idea behind IKEA’s collaborative boot camp effort is what the company calls ‘Co-creating a better everyday life’. The mission is to encourage start-ups that are working to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems.

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