Aspire Food Group and Canadian Collaborators Receive Support From Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGEN)
NEWS PROVIDED BY
Aspire Food Group
Feb 17, 2021, 12:00 ET
LONDON, ON, Feb. 17, 2021 /CNW/ - Aspire Food Group of London, ON and its collaborators TELUS Agriculture, DarwinAI, Swift Labs, and A&L Laboratories are awarded $16.8 million from Next Generation Manufacturing to construct the world's first fully automated cricket protein manufacturing facility in London, ON, positioning Canada at the forefront of the emerging insect and sustainable protein industries.
In 2020, Aspire purchased 12 acres of land in Innovation Park in the City of London. Construction of the facility is underway. The plant will begin operations in the first quarter of 2022, ultimately producing nearly 20,000 metric tonnes of products annually. Aspire produces nutrient dense protein powder from crickets for food supplements and pet nutrition along with frass, an organic plant and soil biopesticide and biostimulant. The facility will employ 60 people at full production.
A hundred grams of powdered crickets contains almost the same amount of protein as an equivalent amount of meat, but with less fat and fewer calories. Cricket powder is an excellent source of protein and minerals, such as iron, zinc and magnesium and has hypoallergenic properties for pet food. Studies have shown that a diet rich in cricket protein can improve gut health and potentially reduce systemic inflammation.
In developing technologies for the new facility, Aspire has applied for and received 11 patents. The collaborations with our partners will generate additional intellectual property for the benefit of Canada.
DarwinAI, TELUS Agriculture, Swift Labs, and A&L Canada Laboratories are leaders in their fields. This project will integrate technologies including artificial intelligence and the employment of a private industrial internet of things (IoT) for the first time in a manufacturing setting with living organisms. Aspire is proud to be working with Canadian innovators and all of our other suppliers.
Key personnel have joined Aspire from the talented labour pool represented by the manufacturing cluster in southern Ontario.
The project is the largest funded by NGen under the Government of Canada's Innovation Supercluster Initiative. This support will accelerate the commercialization of these advanced technologies and produce a template for the development of similar facilities like Aspire London in the future.
SOURCE Aspire Food Group