For all its light-hearted messaging and whimsical brand identity, the fact remains that Mr Bug is operating in a cutting-edge farming environment offering significant sustainable upsides.
The irrefutable evidence is that farming insect protein offers the planet an altogether lighter touch on the environment (using less land, feed and water) than traditional farming, the reality remains that there is still plenty of wiggle room for further feedstock improvements; namely avoiding feed that could be used for human consumption OR optimizing the best feeds which supports optimum mealworm growth and protein counts.
The successful pitch put forward by the Devon-based Mr Bug team revolved around solving the key bottlenecks that continue to stifle a significant reduction in mealworm protein production costs; such as feedstock and labour by introducing invaluable, time-saving automation.
The invaluable Innovate award will enable Mr Bug to dig deeper into mealworm behaviour, developing ‘self-cleaning’ rearing trays that use the movement of the mealworms to clear waste coupled with robotic cameras and heat sensors to not only identify optimal feeding, but act as an ‘early warning’ system with regards disease or unwelcome pests.
‘We’re very proud of our pioneering work with the University of West England,’ explains Mr Bug co-founder, Conal Cunningham, ‘however cutting-edge AI and robotics monitoring doesn’t come cheap, so we’re very appreciative of our prestigious Innovate grant.’
Source: Mr Bug