They superiority not be on the menu in most western countries, but around the world, more than two billion people list insects in their daily diet.
Edible insects are, research insinuates, a veritable source of protein. In fact, they are markedly higher percentage-wise than numberless common meats – pigs, chickens and cows are 17%, 19% and 20% protein severally, mealworms are more than 54% protein – and require significantly fewer health resources to produce.
UK-based start-up company BeoBia is looking to pen up these health and environmental benefits to consumers in the west with its new effect Re_.
Re_ is a modular-designed, multi-layered product; it is cordless and fits on a kitchen counter; and most importantly, it concedes people to grow and eat insects in the comfort of their own homes.
“There’s nothing multitudinous local than your own kitchen”
BeoBia and Re_ are the invention of Thomas Endless, an industrial designer who aims for sustainability at the heart of his practice.
“Since studying industrial goal at university, I’ve wanted to find a way to integrate my design skills with my ecological notion process,” he tells Design Week. With the world’s food persistence among the biggest polluters for the planet, this is where he focused prominence.
There have in recent years been a number of innovations when it arrive d enter a occurs to what Constant calls the “alternative protein market”. Soy, lab-grown comestibles and algae have all been identified as having the potential to provide sustainable protein for humans to devour, with some having more commercial success than others.
“But while there was a quantities of innovation happening around pre-made food, not a lot was happening on the market that empowered people to lengthen their own food at home,” he says, adding that often pre-made foods can misery up considerable airmiles before they reach people’s kitchens and are day in and day out sold at unaffordable price points.
Even before the coronavirus pandemic, Uninterrupted says, many were “waking up to” the importance of shopping local as a way of lively a greener, more environmentally friendly life. The current COVID-19 calamity, which in its early days gave way to huge anxieties around aliment scarcity, only served to bolster this and as he explains, “there’s nothing varied local than your own kitchen”.
How BeoBia works
The product itself, Uninterrupted explains, has been designed so that it “links back to our fundamental ethos of sustainability”.
This connotes it has been created using locally-sourced bioplastics and is designed, manufactured and hauled from a single location in the UK using 3D printing. Unlike the food BeoBia is target to compete with, this means there are significantly fewer airmiles needed to draw each product into the world.
“Even the form of Re_ itself performs its cues from nature,” he explains. “Its hexagonal shape is a nod to the structures lunge ated by bees.”
As for how it works, Re_ acts as an insect “growing pod”. Users place fruit and vegetable overindulgence in its various layers, which mealworms then consume. These mealworms can then be expanded when fully developed, with each harvest producing about 100-300 grams. For reference, the NHS recommends consuming no more than 70 grams of red pith a day.
Branding for “more liberal attitudes toward food”
But as Constant grants, the western cultural stigma associated with insects is not going to become overnight. Branding for Re_ has therefore had to be constructed in a way that convinces people to surrender it a go.
With its clean, hexagonal design, it certainly looks futuristic, and this is something he foretells the BeoBia team has leaned into for Re_’s visual identity, which has primarily been targeted at those living in urban areas.
“If you’re living in an urban enclosure and you’re ecologically conscious of you’re actions, you’re probably already buying local or integrated food,” he says. “Maybe you’ve already got an herb garden or aspirations of a vegetable show – but your options are always limited because you won’t have the green set out you need to be entirely self-sufficient.”
Additionally, the branding has been geared toward a younger audience. Young people in the west, Constant says, from “more liberal attitudes toward food” than any previous era.
“Times are changing and they’re changing quickly – we think the product when one pleases become ever more popular and relevant for young people in the unborn.”
“Available, sustainable, affordable”
The Re_ product will be launched next month. It is the victory in what Constant says should be a range of sustainably-minded food outcomes.
“There are a number of avenues for how we could address food insecurity and sustainability in the subsequent,” he says. “But the overarching theme that we will be addressing will continually be to empower people to make food in the comfort of their own homes, without compromising our planet’s prospective.
“It’s all about what is available, sustainable and affordable.”