Food waste will be transformed into animal food under UKRI-back project

animal food
© Tatiana Kozachenko

A new project backed with £5.9 million from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) will convert food waste into animal food using insects and carbon-cutting technology

Insect rearing company Entocycle uses innovative technology to breed black soldier flies which feed on unused food, such as rejected supermarket produce. The insects are then harvested and processed into animal food using a highly automated system, that is profitable, sustainable and scalable.

A new collaboration, backed by £5.9 million from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and led by Entocycle and its partners, will allow them to scale up their cutting-edge farming model in the UK and across the world.

Over 3,000 UK-based jobs will be created and will make the UK food production more efficient and less carbon-intensive.

As part of UKRI’s Transforming Food Production (TFP) challenge’s, the Science and Technology into Practice feasibility competition, £4.3 million is being allocated to 23 feasibility projects.

The aim of the competition is to demonstrate the feasibility of new prototype technology to boost agricultural productivity and reduce emissions.

The TFP challenge

UKRI’s £90 million TFP programme is part the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and aims to:

  • Help the agricultural sector grow economically with less environmental impact
  • Set food production systems towards net zero emissions by 2040 by producing food more efficienty, more resilient and sustainable
  • Over four years of investment, accelerate the development and adoption of integrated precision approaches to improve productivity in agricultural systems
  • Focus on the development, demonstration and adoption of data-driven systems and technologies to achieve a better approach to agricultural production and reduce emissions.

Examples of projects being funded include:

  • Healthy Heifer, a precision solution to improve productivity across the dairy sector
  • A new biopesticide to control cabbage stem flea beetles in oilseed rape
  • A robot to monitor grain quality held in bulk storage.

Farming minister Victoria Prentis said:  “I congratulate the UKRI for their TFP challenge and all the recipients of the funding.

“As a passionate advocate for tackling the farming and food industries’ greatest challenges it’s fantastic to see so many innovative projects being supported to help the sector grow with reduced environmental impact and less food waste.”

Katrina Hayter, challenge director of UKRI’s TFP programme, said: “The Entocycle-led project is one of the most interesting and exciting projects we have funded.

“Our aim is to make the UK a global hub for black soldier fly farming. Successful development and scaling up of this technology should lead to a significant boost in recycling of food waste and a reduction in emissions.

“There are many innovative projects in our latest feasibility competition showcasing ideas for improving productivity and cutting emissions that range across the whole agricultural sector, from arable, to livestock, to sensor technology and to new biopesticides. Our funding and support for these projects is ongoing.”

Winners of the competition

Opposable Games in Bristol

Partners include:

  • National Institute of Agricultural Botany
  • University of the West of England
  • Berry Gardens Growers Limited (Ltd).

JGHC Limited in Ross-on-Wye

Partners include:

  • Cranfield University
  • Cardiff University.

Cambridge Animal Technologies Limited in Cambridge

Partners include:

  • Agri-Epi Centre Ltd.

CCm Research in Swindon

Partners include:

  • Cranfield University. 

3D Bio-Tissues in Newcastle

Partners include:

  • Centre for Process Innovation Ltd. 

Moredun Research Institute in Edinburgh

Partners include:

  • Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC)
  • Synergy Farm Health Ltd
  • Datamars Agri UK Ltd
  • 5 Agri  LLP
  • Nighthawk Software Ltd.

Entec Nutrition in Truro

Partners include:

  • Campden BRI Ltd
  • University of Exeter.

Cherry Valley Farms Ltd in Grimsby

Partners include:

  • Hudson & Sanders Ltd
  • University of Edinburgh.

Crop Health and Protection in Yorkshire

Partners include:

  • Russell Bio Solutions Ltd
  • CAB International.

Netafim UK Ltd in Skelmersdale

Partners include:

  • Environmental Monitoring Solutions Ltd
  • National Institute of Agricultural Botany
  • Berry Gardens Growers Ltd.

Moy Park Ltd in Craigavon

Partners include:

  • Queen’s University Belfast
  • JF McKenna Ltd.

Davlec in Welshpool

Partners include:

  • Clarity Biosolutions Ltd.

RAFT Solutions in Ripon

Partners include:

  • Techion (UK) Ltd.

Agri-EPI Centre, one of the UK Agri-Tech Centres

Partners include:

  • Abertay University
  • FarmVets Southwest Ltd
  • Pocket Sized Hands Ltd.

AGSENZE in Lancaster

Partners include:

  • International Pheromone Systems Ltd.

Light Science Technologies Ltd in Derby

Partners include:

  • Nottingham Trent University. 

The James Hutton Institute in Dundee

Partners include:

  • James Hutton Ltd
  • Thomas Thomson (Blairgowrie) Ltd
  • Westland Horticulture Ltd.

Crover Ltd in Edinburgh

Partners include:

  • Agri-EPI Centre Ltd
  • East of Scotland Farmers Ltd.

Manchester Metropolitan University in Manchester

Partners include:

  • GMV Innovating Solutions Ltd
  • Royal Botanic Gardens Kew.

Harper Adams University in Newport

Partners include:

  • Ross Robotics Ltd
  • Hudson & Sanders Ltd
  • Pruex Ltd.

Clarity BioSolutions in Salisbury

Partners include:

  • Raft Solutions Ltd.

Quant Foundry Ltd in London

Partners include:

  • Agri-EPI Centre Ltd
  • University of Bristol.

Scotland’s Rural College in Edinburgh

Partners include:

  • University of Strathclyde
  • First Milk Ltd
  • Nestle UK Ltd.


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