Clean Meat Supply Chain Faces a Unique Set of Risks. These Two Things Must Be Considered.

The Clean Meat industry is on the verge of commercialization as products are expected to hit the market in the coming few years. In fact,  Just-company is promising to bring it’s products out already during 2018. While the Clean Meat companies are preparing their products internally, external companies in the supply chain are facing increased risk environment when operating in this new and special industry. What makes the situation very special is that we are talking about a completely new type of material that is not available today. Something very similar is happening in edible insects or IFF (Insects for Food and Feed) field where also new technology is producing a new type of raw material.

Supply chains can be visualized as a stream of supply where the goods are flowing down the river starting from the raw material producers to end product manufacturing and finally to end customers through wholesalers and supermarkets. When looking upstream towards Clean Meat producers a high level of supply risk can be identified. Supply risk, the risk that products are not been delivered, is higher than many other industries because of two reasons: Lack of horizontal integration and limited knowledge.

Lack of horizontal integration means that there is a very limited number of companies able to produce e.g. clean cow meat. There are numerous places to get slaughtered meat if your first option fails to deliver, but what will you do when your primary Clean Meat producer faces delivery issues? A serious production issue will leave downstream without promised products and no chance of buying replacing products as there simply isn’t anyone else to buy from. What makes the supply risk exposure even higher is the limited knowledge of the clean meat production the producer has. No one in the world has ever produced clean meat in industrial scale. It is very likely that during the first years of industrial-scale production unexpected operational risks will occur that will lead to some level of delivery issues simply because of the lack of experience.

What is different between the IFF and Clean Meat industries is that unlike the IFF side, it seems that most of the Clean Meat companies are not only producing the raw material but also making the end product. In supply chain terms the level of vertical integration is different. This way the supply risk is carried internally and in case of production difficulties the consequences are seen first internally, not at the end product producers’ factory. The risk of failed deliveries to supermarkets still exists, but in this case, a supermarket could fill their shelves with something similar like clean pork. This is not ideal but acceptable. Instead, an end product producer cannot do the same and for this reason, unlike supermarkets or wholesalers, they cannot accept as high supply risks.

Another way to reduce the risk exposure in the supply chain together with shifting the degree of vertical integration is increased horizontal integration. Eventually, the supply will increase when competing companies appear, but the increase of horizontal integration can happen also internally within a company by dividing production capacity to multiple locations and production units. When the whole production capacity of a company is not relying on a limited number of machines and operators an occurrence of an operational risk (that are likely due to the limited knowledge) does not jeopardize to complete production capacity of the company.

The Clean Meat industry is still working on bringing the production cost down, but the IFF companies are already in the markets and facing the supply chain challenges today. There are no simple and easy answers, but when the time comes for wide market entry for the Clean Meat companies could look at the fellow alt-protein industries for key learnings.

 

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To look deeper into the risk profile of emerging industries’ supply chain check out my thesis Supply Chain Risk Management in Entomology Farms. The thesis is available also in all major audiobook platforms like Audible.  You may also see my presentation on the topic here.

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The Two Compromises Limiting Alt-Protein Product Development

Future proteins, meat alternatives, sustainable proteins. The category of new products entering the market to replace the traditional and unsustainable meat in our diets has many names. Latest big article on the topic calling it the alt-protein sector was released in The Guardian on 30th of April 2018. You can read the article here.

In the article, some of the main players in the industry are interviewed. The main message given by the companies is clear: The most important thing in attracting large audiences and saving the planet is the taste.

“I don’t think mayonnaise, even ours, is healthy at all,” “I’d much rather people have a box of carrots if they are concerned about health, without question.” Josh Tetrick of Just.

“From our perspective, health is not the point,”  Bruce Friedrich of Good Food Institute.

The widely accepted approach shared by the interviewees seems to be that two clear compromises must be accepted in order to introduce these better options for meat eaters.

Compromise no 1: Healthiness

These modern food companies like the interviewed Just and Impossible Foods have a clean slate to do almost anything imaginable in the field of food technology but they have selected a path where healthiness is not the main factor. Is this really the best way? These companies might answer no, but at the same time, it is a must in order to attract large masses. Obviously, everyone would like to do very healthy products, but it has been accepted that as long as the taste is good, health- questions can be put aside.

Compromise no 2: Variety

When looking at companies like Just, Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat, there is another question that they have accepted as fact: For wide customer base acceptance, their products must resemble known animal-based products they are aiming to replace. The products are aiming to resemble animal-based products not only by taste but also by how they look, feel and smell.

The thinking behind these compromises suggests that it is easier to market people familiar, but inferior product instead of unfamiliar superior one. It is important to notice here that we are not talking here about cost as the motivation for these compromises, but marketing.

These two compromises might be well justified, but they are very limiting from product development’s perspective. The management of these companies are telling their R&D- departments:  “let’s do a sustainable product and tastes good but it must look, feel and taste like this other thing”. When working from the point of view where you are copying something, not making the best possible product, you are incentified to sacrifice not only health but also the optimal environmental impact.

What if the management’s message to R&D would be the following: Let’s do a product that is sustainable, tastes good and is healthy? What kind of amazing products could these companies create if they would work without these listed compromises?

The clean meat industry is a bit different story. Clean meat- companies are not copying animal-based products, they are making the original thing but in a more sustainable way. Producing muscle-cells in bioreactor instead of rearing an animal brings an impressive list of improvements in comparison to the traditional method of producing animal flesh: No manure-derived issues, no use of antibiotics, the end product is free of animal-based pathogens to name a few.

The justification for the need of clean meat products comes from the well-founded assumption that people must have a meat option and to provide that to them the bioreactor way is clearly better way than rearing the full animal.

Clean meat- companies and the “plant-based meat imitators” are in the same line in the way that both want to introduce meat alternative to meat eaters. It is absolutely clear that there is a huge demand for this. In clean meat’s case, we don’t need to think of the issue of the product being familiar or not because the end product is the very same meat we eat today.  In the plant-based product’s case, this conclusion that product quality should be sacrificed for marketing purposes should be seriously questioned. If the imitator- companies follow the chosen path they are bound to find it to be a dead end. Eventually, the clean meat technology matures and the products hit the market shelves with comparable prices to the imitators. At this stage, the plant-based meat imitators have nothing on clean meat when marketing to meat eater audience.

For more detailed comparison of clean meat, plant-based meat imitators and plant-based meat replacements read my earlier blog post here:  https://ilkkataponen.com/2017/07/27/imitators-replacements-and-clean-meat/

 

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Do Not Outsource! But If You Do, Remember These 3 Things

Ok, maybe the title is a bit provocative – this applies first and foremost to startup companies. This text is part two of Introduction to Lean Production Scale-Up Model. You can find the first part here.

What happens throughout the production scaling of a startup is a lot of learning in two equally essential sectors: From the market and customers’ needs (the market build-measure-learn loop), but also about the production process (the production build-measure-learn loop).

double loop

In the early stages of production scale-up, all work must focus on optimizing the learning process that can be best achieved when the production is done in-house. When using a subcontractor in the early stages of development, the company will also find it difficult to continue to the later stages of scale-up because the subcontracting partners hold the tacit knowledge and thus the negotiation power in the developing partnership.

It is tempting to outsource production or parts of it to speed up the development and reduce the need for capital investment. Subcontracting can indeed offer very tangible and attractive benefits: Facilities and supply chains are ready, and the need for upfront investments is limited to name a few, but these benefits are not related to the primary goal that is the efficient learning. If a subcontractor does the production at an early stage, the learning will happen at the subcontractor, not internally at the company.

Using a subcontractor also fights against some of the Lean principles. A subcontractor adds additional layers of management and material handling that do not add value to the customer. Additional material handling is especially the case if the subcontractor is used to do only some parts of the production. In such an arrangement, materials are loaded and unloaded between a different location that does not serve as a value-adding function.

An additional difficulty of using subcontractors in the early stage is the lack of incentives for the subcontractor to do continuous development of the production process and the suboptimal operational infrastructure of the subcontractor. Example of misaligned interests and operational infrastructure between the company and the subcontractor could be a situation where the company learns the clients want to pick up products evening time, but the subcontractor has nobody working after office hours. When you are the only client the subcontractor has requested this change in working hours you know completing this change will cost you a lot. In general, the subcontractor has minimal incentives to modify its operations to match the needs of one small client the best possible way.

One clear benefit a subcontractor can have is access to better prices and hard-to-acquire parts and machines. If this is the case, a subcontractor could be used to produce subassemblies involving these parts and machines. Yes, this would be a step for more complex and expensive, most likely also slower, production, but if this way is seen as the fastest way to learn, then it is the correct way.

If in-house production is not an option.

There are certain environments where in-house production is not a feasible option. Examples of these are regulated industries where you might have very long and expensive processes to get a certified production facility working from scratch.

Have your own people at the subcontractor.

If using a subcontractor is a must, the best possible option would be having the company’s own employees to run the production at the subcontractor’s facility. The need of hiring own employees can be restricted to the core functions of the production and to the parts that are related to the innovation, but the broader the scope of collected knowledge from the day-to-day work, the better. Warehouse management, packing, maintenance, and logistics are examples of the areas that could be left for the subcontractor to handle.

Use multiple subcontractors.

Hiring more than one subcontracting company is a method to position the hiring company better in long term negotiations. When the subcontractor is not the only one with the needed skills and machinery in place, the hiring company has a good position when difficulties eventually arise. In case of poor performance of subcontractor or if the subcontractor wants to charge you more of their work, having an alternative or two gives the hiring company good negotiation power. Having a second subcontractor means some increase in cost related to managing the co-operating, but the costs should not double.

Form a partnership with the subcontractor.

 

As explained earlier, one of the risks in working with subcontractors is the level of commitment for long-term co-operation. Financial investments for the joint project of production development by both parties can lower the risk. The subcontractor could invest in the hiring company and thus creating a clear incentive for developing the production together in the long-term. Other option could be establishing a common production company owned collectively by the innovation owner and the subcontractor. In the new company, the day-to-day management would be handled by the production professionals from the subcontractor, and the innovation owner would concentrate on research and development, marketing and other aspects of the business. The co-ownership would give both parties security as the success of the owners of the newly created company are intertwined.

Introducing Lean Production Scale-Up

Lean Production Scale-Up is a four-step model designed for companies operating in untested markets with untested technology. The purpose of the model is the reduce the high capital risk that is associated especially with companies using new technology and innovations. The model enables the company to make its technology investments as soon as possible time-wise, but as late as possible in the learning curve.

I developed the model based on my experiences in production development in various startup companies both in the medical and food industries.

While the Lean Startup movement serves many types of startups, there is one aspect that has not been included in the broader public discussion. Lean Startup concentrates on finding the market fit for the product or service as efficiently as possible but assumes that the same level of uncertainty does not exist in the internal operations of the company. Companies like Spotify, Dropbox, and Facebook, had critical and untested assumptions regarding their business models when they started, but they did not need to doubt if the product was doable technically once market fit was confirmed.

The situation is critically different for companies that are involved in a business where the product or the production process is involving an innovation. Industries like 3D printing and food grown in bioreactors are operating in untested markets, but they are also working with unproven technology.

Build- Measure- Learn Double Loop.

Lean Startup focuses on optimizing learning by using the Build-Measure-Learn loop. For companies also having internal unknowns, a second loop is needed that is for the production process.

An Information Technology or service company must look into improving their working process for improvement as well, but in most cases, a software company is using existing coding languages, software, and hardware. When working with building new physical products with new machines and machine setups, new raw materials and so on the need for internal learning and improving the working process in the company is multiplied. Together, the two Build-Measure-Learn Loops form the Build-Measure-Learn Double Loop.

double loop

Figure 1: Build-Measure-Learn Double Loop

Lean Production Scale-Up Model

By using this model, a company with new innovation can navigate its way from an idea to full-scale production. Alternatively, in the case that innovation or the business model using it does not add value to customers or is not technically feasible, the company can identify this as soon as possible.

The Lean Production Scale-Up model consists of four steps. The model is divided into these exact four questions to maximize the efficiency of the scale-up process. Each step asks the question that the company must answer by using the Build-Measure-Learn Double Loop. The questions are answered one-by-one in the specific order.

The primary goal of the early production when working with innovation is not to generate profit for the company, and it is not to have a positive gross margin, but to reach the learning goals of each step and taking those steps as fast as possible. If you do something else than what is necessary at that step at hand, you increase your expenditure, risks, and what is worst you slow down learning and business assumption validation.

  • Step 1: Is there a demand? The question is quite similar to step 2, but asking first is there any demand at all, key assumptions can be invalidated without the need of financial commitments to production space and machinery that must be in place in step 2.
  • Step 2: Is the demand sustainable and scalable? After confirming that there is some interest comes the time to validate that the demand is not limited to too small customer segments and that the customers will turn into returning customers and advocates. Some investments are now needed, but only the ones that are necessary to collect the learnings are taken. All development ideas related to improving production efficiency are postponed.
  • Step 3: Is positive gross margin achievable? Once demand and market fit are clear, its time to confirm not only that the product can be produced on an industrial scale, but also that it can be done with a positive gross margin. At this stage when still operating with suboptimal machinery (the quick & dirty solution you have put in place so far) actually having positive gross margin is difficult, but you can collect evidence that positive gross margin can be reached. For example, changing too small warehouse to a larger one and investing in an automated packing line will improve your operational costs significantly.
  • Step 4: Continuous development. The company acquires the full-scale profit-generating production line. Learning is still essential for the young company, but the learning curve starts to slow down, and development starts to resemble established company: The development in the production process is now numerous small steps, while in the previous steps it was mostly fewer, but substantial steps. At this stage, the Lean Production Scale-Up has run its course and hands the control over to Lean Management that is specialized in continuous development.

By following the four-step model, a company with new physical innovation can navigate its way from an idea to full-scale production. Alternatively, in the case that innovation or the business model using it does not add value to customers or is not technically feasible, the company can identify this as soon as possible.

A major part of the financial risk involved in the production scale-up is associated with the relatively large upfront investments. Setting up a workshop, let alone a laboratory requires a set of tools and machines. Acquiring suitable working space and required tools is intensive investment wise. Making these investments as soon as possible time-wise, but as late as possible in the learning curve is the goal of Lean Production Scale-Up.

Avoid outsourcing

What happens throughout the Lean Production Scale-Up model is a lot of learning in two equally important sectors: From the market and customers’ needs (the market build-measure-learn loop), but also about the production process (the production build-measure-learn loop). It is tempting to outsource production or parts of it to speed up the development and reduce the need for capital investment. Subcontracting can indeed offer very tangible and tempting benefits: Facilities and supply chains are ready, no need for upfront investments or hiring production operators to name a few but looking for these benefits are not the purpose of the early stage production. If production is done by a subcontractor at an early stage, the learning will happen at the subcontractor, not internally at the company. All work must focus on optimizing the learning process that can be best achieved when the production is done in-house. When using a subcontractor in the early stages of development, the company will also find it difficult to continue to the later stages of scale-up because the subcontracting partners hold the tacit knowledge and thus the negotiation power in the developing partnership.

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Here you got a glance at what my Lean Production Scale-Up- book project is about! The idea is still fresh is only now starting to take shape. So far I have some 30 pages about the topic going more in detail how the four steps would look like in practice and what are the dos and don’ts for the starting company that is operating in the untested market with untested technology.

Edit: Second part of introducing the model can be found here: Do Not Outsource! But If You Do, Remember These 3 Things

Would you like to read more on the topic? Any feedback on this blog post? Please get in touch by email or twitter!

Your friend, Ilkka Taponen

Two Clean Meat Companies Lead the Way on Social Media

A while back we took a look with Underhood how insect companies are doing online on different social media platforms and the results were mostly appalling. The statistics show most companies are lazy to reach out to their audiences. You can find the article here. Underhood (underhood.co) is a Finnish startup that is measuring social performance of thousands of brands. Currently, there are about ten thousand companies, organizations or other brands analyzed daily on the service.

Another emerging new food business is Clean Meat, meat produced in bioreactors without the need of rearing and slaughtering of animals.  Clean meat- industry has a lot in common with insect-for-and-feed business: Both are high protein food sources that are offering a more sustainable alternative for traditional animal agriculture. Moreover, both are unknown to the wide audience and are facing the challenge of how to convince people of the safety and benefits their products offer.

Here below are 10 clean meat companies ranked by Underhood. Brands are analyzed by their social performance (language analysis, engagement numbers, and visibility) and given a social score. The scale is from 1 to 10 and you can click on any brand to see the full social analysis. The score is updated daily, the data shown below is from 11th of November 2018.

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Underhood’s ranking as in 11th of November 2018

The two largest companies in the field are also the best-performing companies in social media. Scoring above six tells of a good social media strategy that is being executed consistently. Just is updating their social media channels almost daily and they have a good number of likes on Facebook; over 300.000. Looking at Just’s numbers it can be seen that Just is very consistent how to they are communicating, but what doesn’t work so well is that people are not reacting to the posts.

just

What is an interesting difference between Just and Memphis Meats is that Just is succeeding nicely in Facebook, while Memphis’s most successful posts are on Twitter. Twitter is nice and good to have, but Facebook is clearly the most important platform that should be priority number one.

Looking closer to New Age Meats- company interesting things can be found that others could learn from. From the top ten posts that have collected most likes, shares, and comments nine were done by New Age Meats.

new age

Top 4 posts in the past 30 days from the 10 listed companies as in 11th of November 2018. All four were posted by New Age Meats.

Where New Age Meats is not performing well is how they are responding to comments:

new score

At the other end of the scale, things look pretty abysmal and it is obvious that social media is not considered important at all. Aleph farms- company doesn’t even have Facebook or Twitter- page.

As we see it, it is crucial that brands of this new industry get active on social. There are a couple of companies doing it well, but the majority are not doing their part. There is no way we can convince people to take on new food habits if we do not spread the word in the most personal media, meaning Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms. It seems the industry players are not taking full advantage of the excellent and cost-effective opportunity to market their new and exciting products. The revolution needs to have evangelists!

 

Taponen’s list is dead, long live the list!

I started building a database about insect food companies in 2015 to find myself an internship position in the field. Later on, I continued upkeeping the list for competitive intelligence and business opportunity reasons.

In 2016, when I published the first version of the list for all to read and download, I never thought how the file would develop in 2,5 years. Today looking at the version 76 of Taponen’s list it is fair to say it is clearly the most comprehensive listing of Insect for Food and Feed- companies. Companies are not only listed but categorized e.g by home country and insect species they are focusing on. The list has been downloaded over 1600 times.

Even though the excel-format has served me and you readers well so far, it has its limitations and this is why the time has come to try something new. I am passing the torch of hosting the list to Golden and the responsibility of updating the list to all of you.

Golden is essentially putting together human knowledge in one easy place to edit and access. I teamed up with the Golden team to kickstart the database by uploading the list version 76 to the Entomophagy page. Also, my entomology patent database can now be found from Golden, that listing is part of Entomology-page. If you want to help edit the page and improve the data please go to this page here.

Taponen’s list is dead, long live the list!

The version 76 published on 14th of July 2018 is still available for download here.

 

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Insect Companies Are Lazy On Social Media

Eating insects is a big thing, even a super trend according to many studies and articles. But there are many obstacles to overcome before we change our attitudes towards the crawling things we many of us consider disgusting or even scary.

Social media is undoubtedly the best forum to spread understanding of the more ethical protein compared to meat-eating that is destroying our planet. But how good are the insect companies in their social media actions? Not so good, it seems.

Underhood (underhood.co) is a Finnish startup that is measuring social performance of thousands of brands. Currently, there are about ten thousand companies, organizations or other brands analyzed daily on the service. Each brand gets a daily social score based on data.

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Underhood sat down together with insect-business expert Ilkka Taponen to see how the most prominent ento-companies or brands are performing, and here are the results as in 23th of August 2018. You can see daily updating score here:  http://rankings.underhood.co/insect-companies/

Brands are analyzed by their social performance (language analysis, engagement numbers, and visibility) and given a social score. The scale is from 1 to 10 and you can click on any brand to see the full social analysis. The scores are updated daily.

 

Underhood ranking

Underhood’s ranking as in 23th of August 2018

 

The best performers (as in August 23rd) are Jimini’s and Wilder Harrier. They are both selling customer products from insects. While Jimini’s focuses on serving humans, Wilder Harrier makes sustainable insect-treats for dogs.

According to Underhood’s algorithm, Jimini’s is reasonable active on social media – they update their Facebook every second day on average, but Wilder Harrier has something to say to their Facebook audience only once in ten days. That is not enough. Preaching should be louder when the best performing brands on Underhood update their Facebook more than twice a day.

Follower counts need work too. There are only two brands with five-figure follower numbers, Exo (55,000 followers on Facebook and Twitter) and Jimini’s (27,000 followers on Facebook and Twitter). As a rule of thumb, customer brands need large follower bases on social media to boost their sales and spread the knowledge of their products.

So, why are these companies so quiet and modest on social media? Is it because they do not have good communication professionals to help them or do they feel that they don’t have interesting things to say? On social media, it is essential to keep noise. No one remembers the quiet ones when everybody is shouting.

As we see it, it is crucial that brands of this new industry get active on social. There is no way we can change people’s attitudes towards eatable insects if we do not spread the word in the most personal media, meaning Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other platforms. It seems the industry players are wasting an excellent and cost-effective opportunity to market their new and exciting products! Revolution needs to have evangelists.

So, what to post? Here are some best performing posts from the listed companies ranked above.

 

 

Los derechos de los animales también incluyen a los insectos. Estas cosas deben ser consideradas.

El cultivo de insectos a gran escala es una industria relativamente nueva, y se espera que crezca significativamente en los próximos años. Sin embargo, quizás un título más apropiado para este tema sería IAHA, Insectos para la Alimentación Humana y Animal. Actualmente, alrededor del mundo hay docenas de empresas cultivando insectos al nivel industrial, principalmente para alimento de peces, pero poco a poco se ha empezado a vender productos para el consumo humano también. La ingestión de insectos como alimento humano se llama entomofagia, y no debe confundirse con la entomología, la rama zoológica que estudia los insectos. Actualmente hay más que 2000 diferentes especies de insectos usados como alimento, y los insectos usualmente cultivados al nivel industrial son el gusano de la harina (Tenebrio molitor), la mosca soldado-negra (Hermetia illucens) y el grillo doméstico (Acheta domesticus). Los Insectos son considerados como un alimento sostenible, especialmente para alimentar el ganado. Comparado con una dieta vegetariana o de insectos, la forma tradicional de proteínas para el ganado no solo es costosa, sino que también es ambientalmente insostenible. La producción de carne es inadecuada y usa cantidades grandes de agua, tierra, y alimento para los animales. Por ejemplo, una vaca necesita consumir 12 veces más recursos que los grillos, los cuales producen nutrientes que son comparables a la carne.

Junto con el tema ambiental este artículo enfrenta otra preocupación ética asociada con el consumo de carne: el bienestar de los animales. Las normativas del bienestar de los animales son basadas en el modelo de las cinco libertades creadas por Brambel.

Las cinco libertades son:

  1. Libre de hambre, sed, y desnutrición
  2. Libre de miedos y angustias
  3. Libre de incomodidades físicas o térmicas
  4. Libre de dolor, lesiones, o enfermedades
  5. Libre para expresar las pautas propias de comportamiento

La causa principal de los problemas éticas es que, al usar la forma tradicional de criar a animales, es económicamente más beneficioso a mantener los animales en ambientes que son innaturales para ellos. Por ejemplo, aunque ocurran problemas de salud causados por un ambiente innatural, estresante, y de tamaño pequeño, es más económico a tratarlo con medicamento extensivo que proveer más espacio y un ambiente natural.

Actualmente, con la formación del cultivo de insectos a gran escala, sería económicamente beneficioso si los productores de insectos respetarían las cinco libertades. Según los varios cultivadores de insectos que cultivan a escala industrial, y que fueron entrevistados en el documento de investigación “A Bug’s Life: Large-scale insect rearing in relation to animal welfare”, lo más semejante que el ambiente industrial sea al ambiente natural del insecto, lo más saludable y productivo será.

Sin embargo, sí hay unas excepciones; algunos cultivadores usan hormonas juveniles para prevenir que la larva del Tenebrio molitor mude a pupa o a escarabajo. Otro ejemplo es la manipulación de proporción entre géneros. Para maximizar actividades de reproducción, la proporción natural de machos con respeto a hembras es modificada. Estos son dos ejemplos donde se interfiere con los derechos de los animales, previniendo la expresión del comportamiento propio. Para aprender más sobre este tema, leer el documento, “A Bug’s Life: Large-scale insect rearing in relation to animal welfare”aquí: http://venik.nl/site/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Rapport-Large-scale-insect-rearing-in-relation-to-animal-welfare.pdf (nota, al momento este documento solo se encuentra en inglés)

La hipocresía en relación con los derechos de los animales

Gente tiene la tendencia de ser hipócritas cuando se trata de los derechos de los animales. Por ejemplo, los animales domésticos son amados por sus dueños; mucho tiempo y esfuerzo es dirigido a su bien estar, solo porque son considerados lindos y capaces de mostrar afecto. Los animales como las ratas no reciben la misma cantidad de compasión, y mucho menos las cucarachas y las arañas. Este hecho afectará significativamente la opinión del público y su relación con la industria creciente. Aun si la industria del cultivo de insectos venidera no fuera capaz de proveer un ambiente ético para los insectos, el público no estaría igual de preocupado con defender, por ejemplo, la larva de las moscas que el ganado, el cual hoy día es defendido más intensamente por el público. Pero el cultivo de insectos todavía no ha llegado a una escala comparable con el ganado. Queda por ver si la cultivación de insectos podrá proveer las cinco libertades y como el público percibirá la industria cuando crezca más.

Por último, unas cuestiones a considerar

Cuando se trata de la entomofagia, la gran cuestión moral enfrentando al consumidor es: ¿es moralmente aceptable a consumir insectos y otros animales? Y si no lo es, ¿está bien si la inmoralidad de consumir insectos es ignorada por el mayor bien?

Si son vigilados cuidadosamente, los insectos cultivados pueden ser alimentados con residuo orgánico. Este método claramente hiciera productos hechos de insectos la fuente de proteína más ambientalmente sostenible, aun más sostenible que el ganado y el pescado, incluso más que la proteína vegetal, por ejemplo, la soja. Si la huella de carbono causada por el producto final no involucra la producción de alimento, (porque solo es residuo), el impacto medioambiental solo es causado por el uso de electricidad en el cultivo, envase y transporte de los insectos. Cuando uno examina los problemas asociados con el cultivo de la soja, ni alguien en una dieta completamente vegana se escapa con una consciencia ambiental libre de culpabilidad. Por esta razón, hasta un consumidor que es consciente de los derechos de los insectos debe considerar entomofagia, para un impacto medioambiental más bajo, en vez de una dieta de proteínas de base vegetal. Un dato interesante: los veganos y los vegetarianos actualmente consumen insectos porque los insectos viven naturalmente en los vegetales y son imposibles a eliminar completamente. Por ejemplo, la Administración de Medicamentos y Alimentos (FDA por sus siglas en inglés), ha establecido que el nivel aceptable de fragmentos de insectos en 100 gramos de alimentos son 60 pedazos.

Al momento, desafortunadamente parece que no será viable a usar residuo orgánico para alimentar a insectos en la cultivación a gran escala, especialmente si son destinados para el consumo humano. Todos los principales productores de alimento humano están usando alimento de alta calidad para insectos, los mismos alimentos que pueden ser consumidos por humanos. No obstante, sí hay unas cuantas compañías enfocadas en usar residuo orgánico para alimentar a los insectos, pero solo para las especies que son destinadas para ser convertidas en alimentación animal, y no para el consumo humano.

Este artículo está a favor de la entomofagia, sin embargo, también existe una opinión opuesta a ello. Aquí está un enlace al blog cuyo autor habla en contra del cultivo de insectos, citando razones éticas: http://reducing-suffering.org/why-i-dont-support-eating-insects/ (inglés).

Lectura adicional:

Par información general sobre la producción de insectos, leer el reporte de la Organización de las Naciones Unidas para la Alimentación y la Agricultura (FAO por sus siglas en inglés), “Edible Insects”:  http://www.fao.org/docrep/018/i3253e/i3253e00.htm (inglés).

Un estudio del bienestar animal en la producción de insectos: “A Bug’s Life. Large-scale insect rearing in relation to animal welfare”: http://venik.nl/site/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Rapport-Large-scale-insect-rearing-in-relation-to-animal-welfare.pdf (inglés).

El artículo en el blog, Ilkka Taponen, “Using biowaste as feed for farmed insects”: https://ilkkataponen.com/2015/08/20/using-bio-waste-as-feed-for-farmed-insects/ (inglés).

Un artículo creado por el departamento de zoología de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México que expone la explotación de insectos comestibles y la necesidad de reglamento: http://www.redalyc.org/html/424/42445304/ (español).

Este artículo fue traducido del inglés al español, y aunque la traducción no es muy buena, la información presentada sí es buena. Relata de estudios que fueron hechos para averiguar el sufrimiento de los insectos: http://reducing-suffering.org/la-importancia-del-sufrimiento-de-los-insectos/  (español)      

Traducido por: I. Rueda