Insect farming startup targets pet food as gateway to human grub


Evolving views on food are challenging traditional diets — and not just for humans. Innovative dining options are also being added to the menus of our pets.

Startups have proposed numerous new ways to satiate their appetites. The UK’s Bella and Duke, for instance, caters to animals on raw diets, while Sweden’s Buddy Pet Foods serves natural dry food, and Portugal’s Barkyn personalises their grub.

If none of those excites their palates, our furry friends could try a more avant-garde delicacy: insects.

That’s what’s cooking in the kitchen of FlyFeed, an Estonia-based startup.  The company has developed an automated farming system that turns fly larvae into animal feed. 

“It’s challenging for humans, but a no-brainer for animals.

Don’t miss TNW’s first conference in València in less than 4 weeks!

The heart of tech is coming to the heart of the Mediterranean – March 30 – 31

Arseniy Olkhovskiy, who founded FlyFeed in 2021, said the concept emerged from research into malnutrition. He concluded that insect farming can provide an affordable and sustainable solution to protein shortages. But he plans to feed animals before approaching humans.

“It’s challenging in human food right now, because people don’t really want to eat something connected to insects — but it’s a no-brainer in animal feed,” Olkhovskiy told TNW.

The 24-year-old rattles through a lengthy list of benefits of farming insects: they’re fed reprocessed waste that would otherwise rot in dumps; they grow up to 100 times faster than conventional animal food sources; they’re rich in high-quality nutrients; their production costs are minimal; and they require far fewer environmental resources than traditional agriculture.

Olkhovskiy promises they’re also highly palatable for pets. He says that his own cat is a fan of the flavours.

Arseniy Olkhovskiy, 24, who studied over 40 alternative food production technologies and claims insect protein meal can become three times cheaper than chicken meat by 2027