>> Breeding millions of beetles and larvae might be unappetizing for some, but it's what entomologists Virginia Amory does for a living. Beta Hatch, her two year old start-up based in Seattle grows and processes bugs into protein rich food which is then fed to fish, chickens, even pets.>> Insects are the base of most food chains and in the wild, fish, birds, a lot of animals are eating insects.
So it only makes sense to have them as part of the food system.>> Traditionally, producers of pork, poultry, and meat have relied on soybeans and corn to feed their flock. But insect farmers say what they're offering has more protein than greens and is better for the environment.
Reuters' correspondent Carl Plume.>> Protein demand is rising as the world population grows and as the middle class expands. And to produce chicken, pork, fish, you need protein to produce proteins.>> So, what are the bugs that are keeping these companies in business?>> Black soldier fly larvae is one of the main ones.
They're very easy to produce, they can also feed on a lot of food waste. Another one is meal worms, these the kind ones of choice because they are high in protein and very easily digestible fat for animals.>> The farm fish industry is also looking for alternative sources of protein as it continues to grow.
>> Fish meal which is one main of ingredient that's we feed them is obviously from the ocean and is no longer sustainable. We're over fishing the fisheries that supply fish meal. So insects are an excellent alternative that is much more sustainable, easier to produce more stable production.>> The insect farming sector still forms a very small share of the $400 billion global feed industry and it faces a number of challenges.
Insect feed is as expensive as competing feed and regulators still need to be convinced that ground up insects won't introduce new toxins into the food chain. But while humans might be picky about eating insects, at least fishing and pigs won't get hung up on the yuck factor.