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Recently, Biopharma Group was asked to consult on a project with one of the largest independent insect providers in the UK to help manufacture edible ‘insect powder’.
There are over 900 edible insects that are a staple food source in many countries, however, in the UK this is very much at the early stages of consideration, but with energy prices, cost of living and global warming, traditional food may soon be off the table, so to speak. Incorporating insects into our day-to-day diets as a source of protein, makes sense. Insects are nutritious and sustainable, compared to traditional livestock, insects require less landmass, feed and water to raise. One way of adding insects into a diet, in a more accessible format for unfamiliar palettes, is as a powdered product.
Our client had purchased a large grinding machine to assist with the production of the powder. However, use with insects, was a first for both the manufacturer of the grinder and the client. Original testing had resulted in a ‘butter’ like substance due to the high oil content of the insects.
After some research and testing with other processes, the customer contacted Biopharma Group in order to provide a solution that dried the insects and then made the final product better for storage purposes. With over thirty years of expertise in critical temperature product processing, we were ideally placed to offer technical and consulting advice regarding the application of liquid nitrogen for fast drying and storage. After conducting a site visit to understand how the client’s processing system worked, it was determined that LD25 unit from our cryopreservation equipment range, would be perfect for some initial testing.
With the LD25 on site and full of liquid nitrogen, Biopharma Group’s product specialists, Ian Blackham and Stephen Pygott attended site to conduct several experiments to test the grinder and suitability of liquid nitrogen as part of the process.
The results identified that the finest powder with the best consistency were produced when the unit was at its coldest, this made the insects brittle and prevented any oils forming the butter like substance that had been the initial issue for the manufacturer. To further help with the processing and production of a consistent powdered product, Ian and Stephen advised several modifications to the grinder set-up and further options for larger liquid nitrogen supplies.
In conclusion, it is apparent that more and more insect-based products will become commercially accessible and acceptable to the market and foresee more production and projects happening in the UK, so we are pleased to have been involved and the early stages of this development. If you would like to know more about how cryostorage equipment could help your food processing project – even if it’s not insects – please get in touch.