Tebrito, a Swedish startup that creates insect protein, announced today that it raised €800,000 (~ $966,305 USD) to scale up its operations. Investors include Almi Invest, angel investors as well as Kanopé Impact and Crosslight Partners investment funds. This brings the total amount raised by Tebrito to €1,250,000 (~ $1.5M USD).
According to a press announcement sent to The Spoon, Tebrito’s extraction method allows it to get an 88 percent protein-rich ingredient from mealworms. Tebrito worked with researchers at the Swedish University for Agriculture for two years on its technology, which also separates oil and chitin from mealworms. The end result is a nutritious power that is odorless and tasteless.
Tebrito says that its production method also has environmental benefits, as it uses leftover cereal and discarded vegetables to feed its insects. The company is also exploring ways to use by-products from the pulp and paper and beer industries to feed its mealworms.
Part of the allure for insects-as-food is that as a protein source, they are much easier to cultivate and much less resource-intensive than raising cows or other larger species of animal.
But while there may be plenty of good reasons to start chowing down on insects, the concept has not crossed over into the mainstream yet in the U.S. Though that’s not for a lack of startups trying. Beobia makes a countertop device that lets you grow your own mealworms at home. Earlier this year Insectta nabbed an undisclosed investment from The Trendlines Group. And last month, Cricket One announced funding for its cricket based burger patty.
One recent development that could help with the mainstreaming of mealworm eating is that last month, the Swedish Food Safety Authority authorized insects as food. This type of regulatory stamp could help put peoples’ minds at ease.
For its part, Tebrito says it will use its new money to automate its operations and scale up production.