At Protix, they believe in harnessing the latest technology to produce the ingredient of the future: insects. The company produces Black Solder Fly (BSF)-based ingredients locally and circularly by using local organic food waste to feed their BSFs and breed, grow, and process it in-house. Their plant is the largest plant for insect ingredients in the world and it runs at full capacity. With high-tech solutions, artificial intelligence, genetic improvement programs, and robotics, Protix brings the food system back in balance with nature.

Interview with Kee Huidekoper, Communication Expert at Protix.

Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company?

Kee Huidekoper: Our BSF ingredients are a high-quality source of nutrition in a variety of feed for fish, chicken, pigs, and pets mimicking the natural circular food chain.

E.E: What’s the news about new products?

K.H: Our products contain high-quality amino acids, lipids and micro nutrients to boost the animal’s health naturally. It fully replaces conventional protein in many wet and dry pet food and aquaculture applications whilst adding functional benefits and superior palatability. The products are produced from a patented extraction process that does not require any artificial solvents and does not use techniques that could create heat- or pressure damage either.

E.E: What are the ranges of products?

K.H: From the BSF larvae we produce: insect protein meal, insect fats, insect puree (a fresh product which combines the benefits of protein meal and fat) and fertilizer (Flytilizer). We also use the live larvae as feed for laying hens which stimulates their natural behavior and replaces soy in their diets. The eggs are called OERei and are available in about 600 supermarkets in The Netherlands. 

E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active?

K.H: We are on an exciting journey to further develop insect-based nutrition in aqua, pet, livestock, and plant markets thereby expanding the value proposition. Protix works in partnership with customers to create and capture value in their markets. This means we develop deep and meaningful customer relationships and continuously improve our products based on scientific research. This approach ensures our ingredients are highly sustainable, delivering proven health benefits at large scale, and balancing the requirements of our customers and their markets. 

E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?

K.H: The volatile world of today with the climate crisis and war in Europe, heightens the urgency to reform the food system. The dependency on specific countries or regions for food supply has been brought into sharp focus and is driving the need for secure locally produced food and feed. Ingredients made from insects fulfil these growing demands. 

E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed?

K.H: Besides the fact that our broader offering is at the cutting edge of innovation in nutritional and environmental areas, we are adding further innovation to our production process every day. Our breeding facilities and equipment have been purposefully designed and developed to deliver optimal results. 
Protix developed and uses a high level of proprietary technology to support industrial scale operations. Science is at the core of what we do and we have a strong focus on research and engineering to continuously further improve quality, controllability, efficiency, and overall competitiveness. 

Over the last years we invested further in our BSF breeding program which led to a growth in breeding-yield meaning we can now deliver a higher output to satisfy growing customer demand and, at the same time, further improve our LCA score. Our production process has seen improvements of over 20% and is leading the way.

Our engineers work tirelessly on the technology required to enable insects to close the loop and create a fully circular nutritional chain on a low footprint basis. This effort has been recognized as our fully automated production process, which efficiently produces insect-based ingredients from food residues, won the Dutch Innovation Award of the Amsterdam Centre for Business Innovation in 2020.

E.E: What estimations do you have for 2022?

K.H: The global pressure on raw material supply chains and the ever increasing demand for more sustainable production creates momentum in the fast growing market of insect ingredients. That combined with the nutritional and environmental benefits of our ingredients means that our clients are rapidly becoming convinced that insects can help bring the food system back in balance with nature; creating a sustainable future for us and our children.