26 Jun 2019
Herzelia, Israel
Organic Food and Agriculture

One thing that humans can typically unite over is a shared contempt for flies — surely Mother Nature’s most persistent, indefatigable, and thoroughly annoying creation. In Israel, start-up FreezeM is rehabilitating the much-maligned insect’s reputation, using the Black Soldier Fly (BSF) to produce eco-friendly animal feed.

The world needs alternative sources of protein in order to feed its growing population, which now relies heavily on unsustainable fish and livestock production. Making animal feed from insects is a more eco-friendly option than using fishmeal or livestock. BSFs need little water, convert efficiently into feed, and thrive on a diet of organic waste.

FreezeM fills a specific gap in the emerging supply chain of insect-based animal feed. The company will supply revivvable fly eggs to feed production companies, which currently need to harvest their own. “We decouple egg production from insect meal production, creating a new product for the market: ready-to-use insect eggs,” said Yuval Gilad, FreezeM’s co-founder.

Gilad met his co-founders, Yoav Politi and Idan Alyagor, while all three were completing doctoral studies at Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science (WIS). In 2016, the trio pioneered a technique of freezing insect eggs that could later be revived and used to make animal feed. At present, producers need to raise their own insects to harvest eggs, a process that can be costly and produce varying results. 

FreezeM promises to streamline production for smaller producers, and the concept quickly won plaudits. The startup triumphed in the “Sustainable Land Use” category of the international ClimateLaunchPad awards, and earned a European Commission H2020 grant.

FreezeM has already attracted equity investment from Yeda, WIS’ technical transfer office, and Kibbutz Nachshonim, a central Israeli farming co-operative. Gilad believes that FreezeM’s major challenge will be producing BSF eggs on an industrial scale, while also building customer faith in using frozen eggs instead of their own.

Gilad sees plenty of work ahead for FreezeM, but speaks with pride about the small, dedicated team’s accomplishments so far. “When we launched our new lab and BSF-rearing facility in August 2018, we achieved our first development milestone,” said Gilad. 

“We hope to support the emerging industry of insect farming and help the world achieve a more sustainable food system.” 

 

Learn more about FreezeM through the website, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Photos courtesy of FreezeM

FreezeM Organic Food and Agriculture
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