Beta Bugs secures £1.72m to scale up sustainable insect farming
Published on : 17 Oct 2023Scottish insect genetics business Beta Bugs Limited has secured £1.72 million investment to scale-up the production, sale and supply of its Black Soldier Fly eggs and larvae to the insect farming sector, as a sustainable alternative to current sources of protein for animal feed. The funding round was led by The TRICAPITAL Syndicate LLP, with participation from SIS Ventures, Scottish Enterprise, Beeches Group, Climate.vc, together with existing shareholders in the business and InnovateUK. Based in Edinburgh, Beta Bugs has developed the UK’s first comprehensive selective breeding programme and egg production site for the Black Soldier Fly, which is farmed as an alternative protein source for use in aquaculture, pork, and poultry feed and can be reared on various waste streams, including agricultural and food waste. Black Soldier Fly farming provides a green, circular, and regionally produced alternative to the environmentally damaging production of soy meal and fishmeal, one of the prime causes of deforestation, biodiversity loss, and overfishing. With the global population forecast to reach 9.7bn by 2050¹, livestock farming will require an additional 539m hectares of habitat using current conventional methods – equating to an area 44x the size of Scotland² – to produce the necessary protein to feed this growing population. Although these insects have been farmed commercially for the past decade, Black Soldier Fly have not, until now, been genetically improved for large-scale production. By improving Black Soldier Fly genetic performance and supplying it at commercially meaningful scales, Beta Bugs provides superior larvae with which insect producers can increase both protein yield and quality for animal feed, enabling it to eventually compete with soy and fishmeal on price.