Welcome to an insect biotech podcast with me, Toby Webb. I’m one of the co-founders in charge of external affairs and sustainability. Joining me in the podcast today is Ben Brown, our CEO and founder. So, welcome back to the podcast, Ben. You’ve just been at the Insecta Conference in Berlin, which is a big insect conference with lots of academics and scientists. What is this event all about and what did you learn from it?

Ben: Learned a lot of new stuff. The event is an academic one spread over three days, presented by researchers, professors, and scientific institutes. It’s really focused on scientific research and not just networking events. Day one and day two were a bit easier to handle, but day three was strategically difficult. The main thing I learned is that the industry is really focusing on utilizing waste. Many companies are trying to find the most optimal substrate for their insects, but we’re about taking true waste and turning it into useful ingredients like protein, fertilizer, and oil. The event highlighted that we are on the right track.

Toby: You’ve been studying this area for about a decade and have set up a company in this space with demonstration plants in Spain. What do you think this conference says about where the industry is headed and how it’s matured in recent years?

Ben: The industry has matured significantly. There are now more service providers and big capital providers entering the space. There’s also more funding heading into this area, although some research may be too academic for the business world. Overall, the industry is still in its early stages, but it’s attracting serious interest.

Toby: Even though we’re called insect biotech, we’re trying to shift the focus towards valorizing waste, with insects being the mechanism. Do you feel the industry is too focused on insects rather than what they can deliver at scale?

Ben: Some people may be too focused on insects, but the industry is realizing that it’s about delivering sustainable protein and other products. The focus is on using waste streams responsibly and being environmentally responsible.

Toby: How do you see the outlook for the next year, especially considering the challenges the olive industry has faced?

Ben: The outlook is positive. If you look at the feed requirements of animals, the potential for the insect industry is huge. With sustainable farming practices, insect farming can compete with other industries. The industry is looking supercharged, and conversations with pet food businesses and aquaculture are promising.

Toby: It’s always tough starting a new company, but the future looks bright for insect biotech. Thanks for your time, Ben.

Ben: Thank you.