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Meeting the Protein Demand: Exploring the Potential of Insect Protein

Right now, producing protein for people to eat, accounts for about 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions 🤯  What can we do about it?

Food production and farming industries have been working hard to increase their sustainability, while still producing enough food for a growing population - it's a fine balance. And one of the easiest ways is to reduce the resources it takes to produce protein... and well, on that front, we've got good news!

The challenge to meet growing protein demand

Food production must increase by around 70% by 2050 to feed our swelling population  – and with this, an increased demand for protein.

However, our current high-volume protein sources are not scalable to feed our planet in 30 years. In fact, 77% of the global agricultural land is used for livestock (our current main protein source), but it only accounts for 17% of global caloric intake and 33% of global protein intake. In fact, the majority of the cropland on the planet is used to feed livestock, not people. To top it all off, meat and dairy produces 60% of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions – 1kg of beef releases about 50kg of greenhouse gas emissions! To sum it up, we need to slash our food production emissions by 75% while increasing production by 50% by 2050. It’s a big ask.

The impact of these protein sources extends beyond just global emissions. It has wider environmental impacts, such as on biodiversity - clearing wild areas for agricultural purposes is the leading cause of the current mass extinction of wildlife.

While the meat and dairy industry is working towards a more sustainable future, we desperately need other solutions to meet our protein demand – both for people and for livestock. 


Could insect protein be the answer? 

There have been incredible advancements and innovations made to reduce the environmental impact of our protein sources. These include using asparagopsis seaweed to reduce cattle and sheep methane emissionsregenerative farming practices to sequester carbon into the soil and increase biodiversity, and alternative proteins such as plant-based and lab-grown meat. While these are all impressive and important advancements in their own way, we at Bardee strongly believe in the power of insect protein to reshape the global food system. Insect protein is an incredible way for us to meet our food needs in a sustainable (and yummy!) way. To illustrate this, check out the graphic below for the staggering difference in water, land and feed usage between our black soldier fly larvae protein and other traditional protein sources.

The efficiency of the black soldier fly is truly something to behold. At Bardee, we created a world-leading vertical farming system to maximise this efficiency, reducing the need for feed, water and land to produce high-quality insect protein.

In fact, at Bardee we actually offset carbon through the production of insect protein. As we use black soldier fly to convert food waste into protein, we completely offset the nasty greenhouse gas emissions that are released when food is left to rot in landfill. To put some numbers behind this – we offset a whopping 15kg of CO2 per kg of insect protein!

 

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