A PLASTIC BOX FOR BREEDING THE FOOD OF THE FUTURE: INSECTS !
A plastic box for breeding the food of the future: insects!
Beekenkamp Verpakkingen B.V. has developed a new insect breeding box for the production of animal protein. The growing world population is increasingly demanding animal protein. Aside from customary livestock farming, insects form an attractive additional source of animal protein. Furthermore, insects convert their food into protein ten times more efficiently than cattle. 10 kg feed only supplies 1 kg of beef, but insects convert 10 kg into as much as 9 kg of insect meat. Insects produce less manure and furthermore emit fewer CO2 and other greenhouse gases. In addition, they consume up to 1,000 times less water and take up less space. The cultivation of mealworms and other insects is still in its early infancy, but is extremely innovative and future-oriented.
Ron Bendijk and Diane Lugtenberg at the Mealworm Breeding Farm De Schanekamp contacted Beekenkamp Verpakkingen in April 2018, asking the company to develop a new mealworm breeding box for their breeding farm. They were looking for a suitable box for breeding mealworms, because a mealworm breeding box with the dimensions they wanted did not yet exist.
All desirable and specific properties the box had to comply with for creating optimal conditions for breeding mealworms were identified jointly by De Schanekamp and Beekenkamp with the objective of supplying the new mealworm box that same year to the De Schanekamp farm. The initial mealworm breeding boxes have since been in use for over two months and De Schanekamp is very satisfied.
The boxes provide for specific heights between boxes to enable automatic feeding. In addition, the boxes are entirely smooth and have a minimum number of edges and ribs to prevent the undesired attachment of pupae to the box’s surface. The boxes are highly suitable for automated systems, such as stacking, unstacking and washing. Due to its standard dimensions and smooth construction, the box is perfect for processing.
The boxes are made of a food-safe certified polypropylene (PP) material. The use of PP material ensures that the boxes are dimensionally very stable and that they can be cleaned at high temperatures.
Breeding box is prepared for vision technology in the future
De Schanekamp settled on a light blue colour in order to be prepared for the availability of vision technology in the future. Vision technology makes it possible to equip machines, such as robots, with ‘eyes’ enabling them to recognise their environment. Robots can then recognise the positioning of products and as a result pick them up and relocate them. The blue colour provides for better contrast, which makes it easier to apply any vision technologies.