A project that could at first glance be science fiction is currently being studied to provide Lévis with a plant to process insects for animal … and human consumption!
This 40,000 square foot factory-laboratory would require an investment of $ 7.7 million, according to a document from the City of Lévis. It would be at the center of the Pôle Éco-Préines Chaudière-Appalaches, which aims to integrate insect breeding farms in the heart of the Innoparc Lévis.
“The Pole is an initiative of the City of Lévis. This project ultimately aims to develop a new industrial niche in Lévis in the bio-food sector by banking on the breeding of insects with a high protein content “, explains Nicole Rodrigue, from the municipality’s communications department.
Lévis mandated the Center de développement bioalimentaire du Québec (CDBQ) to develop a business plan. The $ 100,000 budget is funded 80% by a grant from Chaudière-Appalaches Économique and 20% by the City.
“Of course it is realistic and doable,” insists Charles Lavigne, CEO of the CDBQ. The factory-lab is reportedly sourcing from insect growers to produce protein powder, oil and other derivatives.
Livestock farms do not have the equipment to make large volumes. The project is to bring together small producers to give them access to industrial-scale equipment to find more interesting ways of recycling their products, ”pleads Mr. Lavigne.
Chitin, a compound of the carapace, also offers other opportunities. “It has many applications in wastewater treatment as well as pharmaceuticals for wound healing,” says Lavigne.
With this project, he also aspires to give more value to the products used by farms to feed insects; agro-food residues.
Make them accept
If insects are widely eaten elsewhere in the world, they have not yet entered North American habits. “I think people are ready to eat the bug. We crushed some insects recently, I was next to the machine and it smelled like nuts, my mouth was wet! “
But to work, the Lévis and CDBQ project needs entrepreneurial and financial support from the provincial and federal governments.
“It only takes political will and entrepreneurs to come together so that innovation, research and development support this new sector,” concludes Charles Lavigne.