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CP moves into insect production

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Charoen Pokphand Foods has signed a memorandum of understanding with Chiang Mai University to develop insect-based protein from black soldier fly.

CP is looking to commercialise black soldier fly-based products for sectors including aquafeeds

© CP Foods

The agreement, which was recently signed by clinical professor Niwes Nantachit, president of Chiang Mai University, and Dr Pairat Srichana, senior vice-president of CP Foods, aims to commercialise insect-based protein for both animals and humans.

Dr Yuthana Phimolsiripol, director of the Food Innovation and Packaging Center (FIN) at Chiang Mai University, said that the university initially researched multiple black soldier fly products, such as skincare from the insect’s larvae oil. The university is now collaborating with CP Foods to explore commercial opportunities from the research.

Under the agreement, CP Foods will fund the project and jointly develop the first smart farm for black soldier fly in Thailand. This pilot farm will also be a learning centre for students, farmers and the community.

“Chiang Mai University and CP Foods have the same goal, which is to explore the new products for driving Thai agriculture sector towards sustainable growth, using BCG economy model as an outline. This research will not only benefit both organisations, but also farmers across the country, who can generate extra income from this new economic insect,” said Dr Yuthana.

Dr Pairat added that CP Foods has been working on alternative protein sources, including plant-based protein, cell-based protein and insect-based protein, in response to the new sustainable food trend and building food security.

He explained that the company has a keen interest in insect sector. Previously, the company has developed cricket feed in 2013 and started to research the benefits of black soldier fly in 2016.

“Black soldier fly is a sustainable choice for alternative protein and fat sources. Therefore, we are making a traceable and value-added insect protein. We hope that our partnership with Chiang Mai University will pave the way for a sustainable and profitable insect industry in Thailand,” said Dr Pairat.