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Revivable freezing solution for the insect farming market

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - FreezeM (Revivable freezing solution for the insect farming market)

Période du rapport: 2019-05-01 au 2019-10-31

FreezeM was created to address a clear challenge in the animal feed industry – ensuring and scaling the simple, steady and sustainable sourcing of insect protein – a healthy alternative to current feed, which is regulatory approved, has high nutritional values and most importantly helps to reduce organic waste by converting it to high quality feed.

The challenges are to produce insect protein in an industrial scale and a stable manner. All current insect protein factories produce the entire supply chain in house - a complex and costly process which suffers from many problems such as variation in the daily output and colony collapses.

The FreezeM solution – pausing the life cycle of the fly at the egg stage, on an industrial scale, is something that was not feasible before. FreezeM enables for the first time the decoupling of the breeding (reproduction, nursery and pupation) processes from the rearing (larval growing and processing for the insect meal production) and therefore creates a new product in the market: ready to use insect eggs with extended shelf-life. Our novel patent-pending technology retains the insects’ traits, allowing them to complete their life cycle and function normally after defrosting.

FreezeM will therefore supply ready-to-use eggs to insect factories worldwide, enabling them to focus only on the rearing and processing parts. This will enable to increase production capacity and stability for existing factories, to reduce production price, and most importantly to reduce barriers to entry for new players in the market.
This makes FreezeM the equivalent of seed company in the evolving world of insect farming.

The feasibility study as part of the Phase 1 project helped validate the viability of FreezeM’s technology,the market acceptance and future market potential of our solution. Phase 2 promises a rapid commercialization and market reliability capacity of the FreezeM solution in our target markets.
During the May 2019 – Nov 2019 Phase 1 project, we interviewed over 20 insect protein experts and potential customers and organized pilots to gain a complete understanding of the FreezeM solution’s technical acceptance, demand, willingness to pay, pricing validation, and expected conversion rates.

FreezeM supplied ready-to-use eggs to a beta customer that further grew the larvae for feed in aquaculture. The resulted larvae were successfully used in a fish feed experiment which helped us understand the support we need to provide to our customers to ensure their success, to validate the performance of our eggs in terms of hatchability and growth rate and to improve our business model and pricing strategy. In addition, we have launched a joint steering team with a feed mills company to plan for a insect protein factory which will buy eggs from FreezeM. Lastly, we have created a consortium with three leading European stakeholders in the insect protein market for pilot testing and industrial implementation of FreezeM's technologies in future insect protein factories across the EU.

Feedback to and reception of our solution has been sincerely positive throughout all three projects. The collected pilot data provided us with sufficient data to create a development plan towards TRL8 and also generated relevant technical and user-related content. Willingness to pay, price validation, and expected conversion rates were demonstrated in each particular case. Phase 1 also helped validate the business concept by demonstrating the market need for our solution as well as evaluate the prospects for European growth and international expansion, consistent with the commercialisation plans. FreezeM has also undertaken several complementary actions in order to maximize its market success, by defining and implementing the communication needs (product positioning and marketing message) to be used during the commercialization phase, thereby creating the basis for successful product launch.
The ability to pause the insect life-cycle creates a new kind of commodity (insect eggs with extended shelf-life) which will disrupt the entire insect protein supply chain corresponding of agriculture seed production.
FreezeM creates new business opportunities and makes the use of insect protein more competitive and attractive on the market:
1. Reduce barriers for entering the market: separating the breeding from the rearing enables the creation of simpler production sites near by-products streams, cheaper and with less skilled personnel to operate.
2. Increase production capacity and stability: by relying on a stable supply of eggs or neonates at a known price and replacing the inefficient self-production of eggs, a factory can increase its annual capacity up to five times for a similar investment.
3. Consolidation: companies with multiple plants may use our technology to create a centralized egg production facility to serve their factory network and support their expansion. Typically, consolidated production can save approx. 10-30% of the operational costs by reducing redundancies, improving and scaling up production.
4. Decrease operational costs: constant supply of revivable frozen eggs with the ability to utilize them according to the production needs, is estimated to reduce the operational costs by up to 40%. This saving will be directly translated into the price of insect protein making it more attractive as an alternative protein.
5. Quality assurance and compliance with expected regulations: the production of uniform batches of revivable frozen eggs makes it possible to evaluate their quality and perform regulatory examination i.e. pathogen testing, so adjusting to new regulatory demands is made easy.
6. Secure specialized genetic strains – cryopreservation of different genetic strains will allow different insect producers to secure their genetic strains, and consequently avoid losses in case of genetic drift, disease outbreak or colony collapse.
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