Government of Canada invests in sustainable insect production using food waste
The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, has announced that Enterra Feed Corporation (Enterra) received $6 million under the AgriInnovate Program to help increase the production of sustainable, nutritious products to feed animals while helping to keep food out of landfills.
This funding supported the construction of a full-scale commercial facility, as well as the adoption of innovative equipment and processes to increase production capacity and improve efficiency, making it the first operation of its kind in Canada. Through the AgriInnovate Program, Enterra has established a state-of-the-art, 188,000-square-foot production facility just north of Calgary, Alberta in Rocky View County. At this facility, Enterra has been producing insect-based feed ingredients, with products for the pet food, poultry and wild bird markets being shipped throughout North America as well as recent expansion to the European Union.
The announcement took place during a virtual visit at Enterra’s new facility, where the Minister saw how the company is helping to reduce food waste through sustainable insect production.
Enterra has developed proprietary farming methods to raise black soldier flies, a beneficial, non-invasive insect species with a rich nutritional profile. The company uses recycled food waste from local farms, grocery stores and food production facilities to feed the insects, which are then dried and processed into animal feed ingredients and fertilizer for plants. At its new facility, Enterra is able to recycle more than 130 tonnes of food waste per day. Operation of the facility also brought more than 65 jobs to the local economy.
The announcement complements the Government of Canada’s actions to reduce food waste through the first-ever Food Policy for Canada. For example, the $20-million Food Waste Reduction Challenge will fund the most innovative, transformative and high-impact solutions to food waste in Canada. The Government of Canada is also leading by example and will invest $6.3 million to cut its own food waste in federal facilities.
“Our government wants to reduce food waste and we are counting on our entrepreneurs to help us get there. It is an important way to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions while helping Canadian consumers save money. The Enterra model is very promising, and our investment will allow them to continue their launch.” – The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
“Our sustainable approach of using pre-consumer food waste and upcycling the nutrients allows valuable nutrients that are often left unutilized or underutilized to be captured. The resulting products are high-quality feed ingredients with unique beneficial properties that markets are demanding around the world. This work is revolutionary and now Enterra is a world leader in harnessing the power of insects to feed and care for the world.” – Keith Driver, President and CEO, Enterra
• Over half (35.5 million tonnes) of Canada’s food supply is lost or wasted annually and $49.5 billion of that wasted food is avoidable.
• Eight percent of all greenhouse gases worldwide are the result of food waste.
• In Canada, food is wasted from farm to plate, through production, processing, distribution, retail, food-service and at home. The Government of Canada is committed to advancing innovative and novel approaches to reducing food waste, which can improve food security, save consumers money and support Canada’s transition to a greener economy.
• The AgriInnovate Program provides repayable contributions for projects that aim to accelerate the commercialization, adoption and/or demonstration of innovative products, technologies, processes or services that increase sector competitiveness and sustainability.
• Enterra, founded in 2007, was the first company in Canada licensed to use and commercially produce insects for animal feed.
• With its new Rocky View facility, Enterra has been able to increase production capacity to 10 tonnes per day, compared to 10 tonnes per month at its previous pilot production facility.
• The Food Policy for Canada is a roadmap for a healthier and more sustainable food system in Canada – one that builds on the government’s ambitious agenda to support the growth of Canada’s farmers and food businesses.
• The Food Waste Reduction Challenge was launched by Minister Bibeau on November 19, 2020. Challenge Streams A and B focus on business model solutions that can prevent or divert food waste at any point from farm-to-plate. The launch of Challenge Streams C and D, which will focus on technological solutions to food waste, is planned for spring 2021.