Nourishing Pets, Nurturing the Planet: Protenga's Insect Proteins Set a New Standard
7 Aug 2023
Revolutionizing Pet Nutrition: Protenga's Director Salamahafifi Talks Insect-Based Proteins in an Exclusive Interview with Petzcareindia Founder Sunil Dcosta.
1) Can you provide an overview of Protenga’s approach to harvesting insects, especially black soldier fly larvae(BSFL), for producing insect-based solutions in the pet food and aquaculture industries?
Salamahafifi: Protenga farms insects through our modular Smart Insect Farm technology, ensuring optimal conditions for the growth of the insects (BSFL) with automation for traceability and quality. The Smart Insect Farm technology is a decentralised, scalable infrastructure that renews nutrition in byproducts, especially in palm production - emphasising scaleable, efficient resource utilisation, waste minimisation, and producing healthy, safe, premium insect products for pet food and aquaculture industries.
2) How does Protenga ensure the quality and safety of the harvested BSFL to meet the standards required for pet food and aquaculture applications?
Salamahafifi: Our facilities are HACCP and GMP compliant, implementing quality control measures at stages of insect farming and processing. We ensure safety and quality by adhering to the standard guidelines and automating most of our processes, minimising human handling, with data inputs tracked throughout the Smart Insect Farm via our proprietary farm management system InsectOS.
3) In what ways do insect-based solutions offer advantages over traditional protein sources in terms of nutrition and sustainability?
Salamahafifi: Insect-based solutions offer several advantages over traditional protein sources. Nutritionally, they boast a balanced amino acid profile, essential fatty acids, and a high protein content. The environmental footprint of insect farming is significantly smaller compared to traditional livestock farming. It requires fewer resources, produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions, and minimises land and water usage.
4) For pet owners concerned about potential allergenicity, are there any considerations regarding the use of insect-based proteins like Hermet for pets with dietary sensitivities?
Salamahafifi: Note that Protenga does not sell the final pet food product, but the ingredients to be used in pet food (insect protein - Hermet Protein, insect oil - Hermet Oil). For pet owners concerned about potential allergenicity, insect-based proteins like Hermet Protein & Hermet Oil can be a suitable alternative to look for in their pet food. Insects are novel protein sources, and their allergenicity is generally lower than common allergens found in traditional pet food ingredients. I’ve seen big pet food brands boldly promoting their insect product line-up as “Ultra Hypoallergenic”. However, individual sensitivities can vary, so it's advisable to consult a veterinarian when introducing new protein sources to pets with dietary sensitivities.
5) Can you share success stories or testimonials from pet owners who have incorporated Hermet proteins into their pets' diets? What benefits have they observed?
Salamahafifi: Our pet food project is made of 40% fresh insects and fresh vegetables and has received positive feedback from dog owners on the palatability of the food, despite its no additives and all-natural, fresh ingredients. Their dogs love it. For dog owners with skin sensitivity concerns, they have observed benefits such as little to no scratching and no redness on the skin after eating, unlike after eating regular pet food. These testimonials highlight the potential of insect-based proteins to positively impact pets' health and well-being.
6) Are there any specific guidelines or recommendations regarding the appropriate usage and serving size of Hermet proteins for pets and Aquaculture?
Salamahafifi: As Hermet Protein is not a final product but an ingredient in pet food and aquaculture, the recommendation guidelines/usage depends on the manufacturer’s formulation.
7) How does Protenga ensure that the insects used in producing Hermet proteins are raised sustainably and environmentally friendly?
Salamahafifi: At Protenga, sustainability is at the core of our operations. Our Smart Insect Farm system optimises feedstock and growth efficiency, minimising water consumption and reducing energy requirements. Our feedstock is also from local agricultural byproducts, hence reducing logistics/transportation (that contribute to carbon emissions, etc). This is how pets can contribute to the circular economy: byproducts still contain a lot of nutrients - they usually go to waste. Protenga saves them from being wasted to feed insects, and the insects are gently processed to become insect protein as an ingredient in pet food. Insects are healthy and natural food for animals, including pet cats and dogs.
8) Are there any ongoing research or development efforts to further enhance the nutritional profile or expand the range of products offered under the Hermet brand?
Salamahafifi: Yes, we are currently undergoing R&D to expand the portfolio and potential of our products.
9) Can you provide insights into the overall sustainability benefits of choosing insect-based protein products like Hermet for pets compared to traditional animal-based protein sources?
Salamahafifi: Choosing insect-based protein products like Hermet Protein as an ingredient for pet food offers not only sustainability benefits but also the health of pets. Insects are a rich source of high-quality protein that is easily digestible and contains all the essential amino acids necessary for pets' growth and overall health. Being novel, insects are also less likely to trigger allergies in pets compared to common allergens found in traditional pet foods, such as beef or chicken. If you are a pet food or aquaculture feed manufacturer looking to include insect protein and insect oil in your products, do contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a quote - we'd love to be your partner to make "healthy and sustainable" a part of your product lineup.
10) Protenga has developed a next-generation Smart Insect Farm™ system. Please share some details of the benefits of the system.
Salamahafifi: Our next-generation Smart Insect Farm is a scaleable infrastructure for renewable nutrition; simple, reliable, and profitable. The systems are automated with our high-tech bioconversion innovation, which keeps operational costs low. With our proprietary farm management InsectOS, we have environmental control that ensures optimal growth conditions for the insects, enhancing the quality and consistency of our products. We can build a Smart Insect Farm for you in six months! Visit our site at www.smartinsectfarm.com to request a proposal.
11) Why do pet owners need to seriously look into this alternate protein source?
Salamahafifi: Responsible pet ownership includes making conscious choices for pets' health and the planet's well-being. Embracing insects as an alternative protein source can offer healthy and balanced, sustainable nutrition to our beloved pets, and it also allows them to play their part in the food and the circular economy.