Protein is essential for nourishing the human body and plays an important role in many bodily processes: building cells and tissue, building muscle, producing enzymes, brain development, strengthening the immune system (antibodies), carrying oxygen in our blood, hormonal regulation and more. Poor protein intake can lead to a wide range of diseases, including endocrine problems, immune system damage, fertility problems, loss of muscle, skin elasticity damage, fatigue, hair loss, developmental impairment and, in severe cases, death. The World Health Organization recommends the consumption of 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight for adults and at least twice that for children and babies.
Nevertheless, one of the main problems of the developing world is the lack of high-quality and accessible proteins, especially animal-based protein. Therefore, about 1 billion of people in the developing world suffer from protein deficiency, leading to a variety of diseases and symptoms.
Global demand for protein is expected to double in the upcoming decades, while existing protein sources have reached their potential, having detrimental Environmental impact and not being healthy enough for us. Today there is a race to develop alternative protein sources that will be healthier, more sustainable and be able to feed the rapidly growing human population. However, these new alternatives suffer from significant limitations. For example:
- Pea protein: Heavy processing and distinct flavor and taste.
- Meat protein: Detrimental environmental impact
- Algae protein: Distinct tase, limiting their integration in additional food products.
- Cultured meat: Expensive and heavy energy consumption
Alongside these resources, exists another completely natural, low-cost protein source, which does not consume a significant amount of energy, have almost neutral taste an flavor, enable easy integration into food products, has a natural high-quality nutrient content and provide long list of health benefits – grasshoppers.
Grasshoppers are an effective protein source, but today their supply comes from wild gathering, which is limited to a very short season of 4-6 weeks a year.
Hargol FoodTech is the only company in the world that has been able to successfully establish grasshopper farms in which with year-round commercial scale production. This groundbreaking achievement changes the face of world nutrition by providing high quality, healthy, available protein on a commercial scale, and with minimal impact on the environment. Hargol FoodTech already reached a POC showing grasshoppers have the potential to become the most efficient animal base protein.
Grasshoppers are the most effective protein that nature can produce: They are healthier for humans (72% protein with no processing), contain all essential amino and fatty acids, and other essential minerals and vitamins.
All leading to the fact that onlty three table spoons of grasshoppers-based protein powder, is sufficient for all the recommended daily protein consumption for an adult.
In addition, grasshoppers are 20 times more efficient to produce than cattle. Their growth requires small amounts of water, food and growing space, they emit 99% lese GHG and they are 100% exploitable when compared with cows (less than 50%), so there is no waste during the process at all, and the amount of protein produced out of them is 8 times greater than the biomass produced!
All these advantage turn the production of grasshoppers to an affordable, high-quality and sustainable solution, and with Hargol’s advanced technology they can be produced in exceptional volumes, with quick scale up and be integrated within a variety of food products.
Hargol FoodTech develops technologies and methods for industrialized production of alternative protein from grasshoppers, all embedded in the company’s three production sites that started operating from the beginning of 2020. The Company's major developments include:
- A controlled environment with ideal conditions for cultivating grasshoppers at a high and constant quality throughout the year.
- Accelerated incubation of the eggs, whereby the natural 40-week incubation period is reduced to only 2 weeks, allowing to increase the number of cycles per year from 1 to more than 10.
- Unique cage infrastructure for vertical agriculture (growing to height), which increases production per square meter 10-folds, and allows full control of the humidity levels and regular evacuation of feces for maximum sanitation, and a clean and sterile production environment.
In parallel, the company keeps on developing and improving its products. Hargol has already achieved a POC for the following technologies, which will be patent protected:
- Development of improved novel breeds through cross breeding – The first breed, Blondie, that is 30% more efficient to produce vs. wild grasshoppers is ready for mass production.
- Development of dry feed, instead of fresh feed, thus reducing the feed cost by 97%, the manpower cost by 50% and enabling a transition to full automation of the production processes.
- Development of advanced processing technologies, adding functionality to the product. The company has completed the development of a prototype, enabling the processing of grasshoppers into a functional powder that serves as a high-quality protein shake for athlets.
The company's developments make the rearing of grasshoppers efficient and can be replicated quickly in large volumes under various climate conditions, so they can be integrated in a wide range of food products and industries around the world.
The Benefits of Grasshopper Protein over Other Protein Sources
- Superior nutritional content - Grasshoppers contain more protein than other insects, 15% more than crickets and 40% more than mealworms and flies, and less than 1/3 the amount of fat compared to other insects.
- Grasshopper protein is better absorbed in the body than other animal and plant sources (meat, soy, seaweed etc.).
- Minimal processing - Due to the high protein content, no further processing (extraction and separation) of the ingredient is needed, compared to the processing required for other insects, or plant-based protein.
- Flavors and taste of the grasshoppers are almost neutral, while other insects have dominant tastes and smell and thus pose a challenge to the food industry.
- The grasshopper protein is the only Kosher and Halal approved insect. This is a significant marketing advantage in the US and Europe, where Kosher food is perceived as healthier and cleaner. Furthermore, Hargol is the first company in the world to obtain a Kosher certificate for its products, which enables their integration as a nutritional supplement in a wide range of products.
Hargol in the media
Channel 13 article