One foodtech area that seems to be chugging along nicely, despite the pandemic? Alternative protein.
And just not plant-based protein. The Trendlines Group, an Israel-based commercialization company, announced today that it had invested an undisclosed amount in Insectta, a Singaporean startup that extracts biomaterials from insects.
When it was founded in 2017, Insectta was originally focused on cultivating insects for use in animal feeds. However, recently the company pivoted to extract an element from insects, called chitosan, for use in industries like food, packaging and pharmaceuticals. Insectta is currently developing a way to turn black soldier flies into both protein and probiotic, specifically for animal feed.
According to a press release from The Trendlines Group, Insectta will operate out of Trendlines’ Agrifood Fund offices. The startup is aiming to have its first products on the market by the end of the year.
Since we don’t know the exact amount of funding at play here, this is a piece of news we might normally gloss over. But in the past thirty days, we’ve seen an eye-catching amount of investment in not only bug-based protein, but alternative protein in general.
Last month Hargol FoodTech, an Israel-based company making commercial grasshopper protein, raised $3 million. In the plant-based protein space, the past month has seen alternative chicken startup Rebellyous raised $6 million, Singaporean alt-meat company Growthwell Group grab $8 million, and Israeli chickpea protein producer Innovopro raise $25 million.
New funds, like Eat Beyond Global and Big Idea Ventures’ Generation Food, also show that COVID isn’t slowing investment in alternative protein. In fact, if anything it’s accelerating it. Outbreaks at meat processing plants and corresponding shortages have pushed investors to channel their funds into other protein sources — ones with more sustainable supply chains. Insects, with their low environmental footprint and high protein output, are clearly one of the spaces that investors think could have potential in our post-pandemic world.