Khepri: an innovative and social business model 2


Summary

The entomophagy market is still confidential; therefor it is permitted to be inventive and audacious.

  • Countries with an entomphagous culture are often poor or developing countries
  • The lack of capital prevents the development of entrepreneurship and of a quality commerce
  • On an unusual market, companies with high social orientation can make the most of it

Khepri strives to conquer a substantial part of the entomophagy market, and working hand in hand with local producers by supplying them with the means to access food and financial independence.

 

 General principles

Innovation and sharing

There are no existing cages dedicated to intensive insect farming yet. The existing vivariums are targeted to leisure breeding in small quantities for reptile pet food. Our bill of specification: lightweight materials, strong, capable of enduring a tropical climat, cheap. Khepri provides breeding cages and cricket eggs to farmers in need and provide training on insect farming. In exchange, Khepri gets back part of the production.

Our ambition is double:

–  Develop and produce a cage destine to factory farming of house crickets

–  Allow individuals with a low standard of living to access à micro-entrepreneur status

Advantages and drawbacks

Why do we proceed like this?

This allows us to maximize the productivity of each cage. Currently, concrete well ring or wooden cages are used for cricket farming, but they are not suited to it (lose of space and individuals, wood not properly adapted to tropical climate, etc.). By decentralizing the production to each cricket farmer, we allow them de develop a new lucrative activity while lowering our staff costs. Our production costs are virtually non-existent. Only the costs of producing the cages, the cricket eggs and collecting the production are taken on.

What are the pitfall we should avoid?

> The cages will have to answer a bill of specification and keep a reasonable price.

Our Solution: We are undergoing negotiations with a Malaysian supplier concerning the production of cages. We favour producers from south Asia.

> Entomocluters that we train may not trust us and leave with our equipment.

Our Solution: We are now in the process of concluding a partnership with the agricultural faculty of Nabong, this will reassure farmers and local authorities. The training will be held on the premises of the Nabong Faculty; this will ensure our credibility. We are also in negotiation with the representative of a well established NGO in Laos in order to establish a partnership. The NGO would bear the selection of families as well as part of setting up the breeding cages. Furthermore we consider buying the extra production produced. Cricket breeders are therefore guaranteed to have an outlet for their products and are disincentives to rescind the contract.

> Ensure the traceability of our products

Our Solution: We will provide cricket farmers with food for crickets. This will bring down costs, and will guaranty us the quality of the final product by insuring us the origin of the nourishment. Furthermore, the Nabong faculty, which is conducting research on the subject of food for insects, will provide us with their latest findings.

A simple extraction process

Firstly, the insects are mixed, and then they are put into a centrifuge to separate the shell from the flesh, and finally dehydrated in an oven.

By proceeding like this, we also avoid the question of repugnance due to the visual aspect of insects as a whole. The transformation has the double advantage of conserving the most beneficial nutriments and to hide its original form.

 Protein Flour

The protein of tomorrow

The food-processing industry mostly uses soya and beef proteins as complement in there products. As for the Southeast Asian region, it imports protein from soya and beef, as other sources of protein are under-exploited. Insects convert nutrients that they take in into flesh much more efficiently than warm-blooded animals that transform part of it into heat. Insects produce only little gas when developing and are not subject to polluting soils.

Insect’s proteins are not exploited right now. Khepri as the ambition to do so.

 

Advantages and drawbacks

Why do we want to proceed this way?

The nutritional characteristics of insects present many undeniable advantages over its main competitor, beef.

For 100 g of: Cricket Beef
Calories 121 213
Proteins 12.9 g  34.6 g
Fat 5.5 g 8.8 g
Carbohydrates 5.1 g Less than a gram
Calcium 75.8 mg 10 mg
Iron 9.5 mg 3.3 mg
Necessary food and reproduction rate Over 9 weeks Over 3 years
Dry food (for 100g of animal) 100 g 1 Kg
Water (for 100g of animal) 0 L 1 534 L
Reproduction rate 100:1 4:1 (Over 6 years)

Against soybean, crickets distinguish itself on the question of resources to use.

For 100 g of: Cricket Soybean
Calories 121 415
Protein 12,9 g  36,5 g
Fat 5,5 g
Carbohydrates 5,1 g
Calcium 75,8 mg 277 mg
Iron 9,5 mg 15,7 mg
Resources needed to produce a ton (metric)    
Water 0L 9 463 L
Surface needed (area) 250m² 25,09km²

 What are the pitfalls we should avoid?

> Insects are not part of western gastronomic culture.

Our Solution: We transform crickets into protein flour. There aspect will not be repulsive to the final consumer.

> Costs will have to be controlled on several levels, especially on the question of transformation and transport

Our Solution: Our choice of decentralising the production will be compensate by the fact that the collected productions will be transported to a unique place by local transports. Then insects will be transformed in a factory located in the region of production.

> The traceability and quality of the products must be perfectly ensured.

Our solution: We work hand in hand with the French federation of producers, importers and distributers of insects (FFPIDI, Fédération Française des Producteurs, Importateurs et Distributeurs d’Insectes) in order to determine the best process of quality control.

> The food-processing industries may be reluctant as first of using a new complementary product of this type.

Our solution: Our outlets are not limited. Piscicultural farms can become a target market for us as well. Fishes, currently fed with flour products based on pork bones, would prefer insect based meals as they are natural predator of insects.

Entomochitosan

 Entomochitosan, a Khepri product

Cricket shell is mostly made up of Chitin, a molecule used in many different industries. At the moment, sources of supply for industries comes from shrimp shells, crab shells, and squids and come from Asia. The chitin from crickets is not currently exploited while the market is growing rapidly because of new findings on what can be done with this molecule.

Everything is good in the cricket, this is Khepri’s motto, who works on outlets for the less eatable parts of crickets. Wastes will be even more limited.

Advantages and drawbacks

Why do we want to proceed this way?

Crickets need one step less than shrimp when extracting chitin from its shells, which reduces even less the cost linked to the transformation. This activity allows us not to waste the cricket shell, which is less digest, while getting a new, valuable, source of revenue at the same time.

Infographie_biomat_EN

What are the pitfalls we should avoid?

> The chitin extracted from cricket shells is not used by the industries using this molecule.

Our Solution: We should ensure the quality of our products. However, the expansion of the market forces consumers to find new sources of chitine.

> The price is a determining factor on the chitin market and its derived products.

Our Solution: Shrimp shell needs one more operation than cricket shell to extract chitin. Our prices should benefit from this.


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2 thoughts on “Khepri: an innovative and social business model

  • Martin Gaona

    Hello , My name is Martin Gaona Im from Colombia.

    With a group of friends we are searching information towards planing a a cricket farm for human consumption, info is not so easy to find, about big farming and its procedures .
    I ll appreciate info or contacts you can help us with.

    Thanks a lot.

    Martin Gaona

    • Rémi Post author

      Hello Martin,

      Big farming is indeed a secretive practice. It is however still a very basic field, and nobody that we know off has specific equipment yet. Cages are usually plastic crates filled with egg carton. The most important variables are temperature and humidity : if the temperature is too low, the crickets will develop slowly, and if the humidity is too high, risks of diseases will increase greatly.

      You can also see the episode of Dirty Jobs which revolves around insect farming (Season 5 Episode 15) named “Cricket Farmer”, which will show you the setup used in a US farm (just an overview of course, but still useful).

      Don’t hesitate to contact us if you want to discuss more via the contact tab,
      Good luck with your farm,

      Rémi