Thai Union Group invests in insect protein

Thai Union Group Plc has invested in Israel’s Flying Spark Ltd, a producer of insect protein food ingredients.

Flying Spark is an alternative protein start-up company using fly larvae Ceratitis Capitata. In nature, the larvae feed on fresh fruit. With a lifespan of only seven days, the insects are able to increase their body mass by 250 times.

Flying Spark’s technology enables easy, low-cost cultivation and processing, with nearly zero waste, as all parts of the larvae are used. This gives Flying Spark an edge over conventional protein sources and other insects such as crickets and grasshoppers.

Thai Union has also created a venture fund with an initial commitment of US$30 million for investments in alternative protein, functional nutrition and value chain technology.

Thai Union will invest in entrepreneurial companies that are active in these areas and will actively partner with them to support and accelerate their development.

The announcement follows the recent opening of Space F, Thailand’s first food-tech incubator and accelerator, of which Thai Union Group, together with Thailand’s National Innovation Agency and Mahidol University, is a founding member.

Flying Spark produces a mild-tasting, 70% protein powder that is rich in iron, calcium, magnesium, dietary fiber, and amino acids. It uses a sustainable production process that employs no hormones or antibiotics. The startup is supported by the Israeli FoodTech incubator.

The collaboration with Flying Spark is the venture’s first investment.