The first bug-protein facility of its kind will be used to make food for pets, fish and livestockTyson Foods is partnering with a Dutch bug-protein company to bring insect farming to the U.S., using livestock waste as feed.
Earlier this month, meat-producing giant Tyson Foods announced its investment in insect protein producer Protix and said it's partnering with the Netherlands-based company to build a facility in the U.S. that will raise insects.
The bug protein won't be used for human consumption at this point. Instead, the facility will use animal waste from Tyson cattle to feed black soldier flies, which will then be processed into food for pets, livestock, and fish.
"Today, we’re focused on more of an ingredient application with insect protein than we are on a consumer application," Tyson Foods CFO John R. Tyson said in an Oct. 17 statement.
Tyson Foods' minority stake in Protix will help the "leading insect ingredients company" fund its global expansion, according to the U.S. company's press release. The facility is expected to open in 2025, Tyson Foods told Fox News.
"The insect lifecycle provides the opportunity for full circularity within our value chain, strengthening our commitment to building a more sustainable food system for the future," Tyson's CFO said.
The venture aligns with a global shift toward alternative proteins and more sustainable food sources amid environmental concerns, since growing insects uses less water and land than traditional livestock, according to Tyson Foods. Additionally, feeding livestock waste to insects can help reduce the amount of pollution emitted into the atmosphere.
"As one of the largest food companies in the world, we look to create value in what is not consumed as human food," a Tyson Foods spokesperson told Fox News. "We see the partnership with Protix as an extension of that."
"No or low-footprint protein is the goal, and we see the partnership with Protix as another way to accelerate progress towards that goal," the spokesperson added.
The black soldier fly "can grow on almost every type of food waste and byproduct you can imagine," Protix CEO Kees Aarts said.
The demand for insect protein could reach half a million metric tons by 2030—a significant increase from the existing market of 10,000 metric tons, according to a 2021 Rabobank report.