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23rd February 2021  Product update: new protein staff writer

Construction Begins at Fully-Automated Insect Protein Manufacturing Site

Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGen), the industry-led organization behind Canada’s Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster, has announced funding for a multi-partner project led by Aspire Food Group.

Aspire Food Group is a world leader in building the lowest cost, highest-density, and most ethical automated food-grade protein production system. The new facility is expected to revolutionize food-grade protein production and address food insecurity and the high environmental cost of protein production.

Aspire has begun construction of the state-of-the-art high-density cricket production and demonstration facility employing 60 people in London, Ontario.

Aspire’s collaborators, TELUS Agriculture, A&L Canada Laboratories Inc., Swiftlabs Inc., and DarwinAI, are contributing to and will be showcasing their high-performance technologies as part of the facility.

The operations will employ industrial automation and robotics, IoT, and deep learning/analytics to farm crickets that have a similar protein quality to meat and an environmental footprint similar (or even better) than plants. The automated and modular technology can be scaled and utilized in any geography as well as across other industry sectors.  

The impact the production facility will have on the Canadian advanced manufacturing ecosystem and on the economy is significant. The demonstration project is a model of Industry 4.0. This is the first time industrial IoT, sensors, ASRS, and AI will be deployed in climate-controlled, indoor vertical agriculture with living organisms.

The collaborators have joined in a project to leverage technology to address one of the most significant social challenges of our generation - feeding the world while improving the quality and safety of our food.

The facility will highlight the sustainability of non-meat protein processing, establishing an insect protein supply chain in Canada featuring world-class technology and leading to job creation.

The project will develop the world’s first fully automated food-grade insect protein manufacturing site, positioning Canada as a leader in this space. DarwinAI, TELUS Agriculture, Swift Labs and A&L Canada Laboratories are leaders in their industries.

This project is the largest endeavour funded by NGen to date under the Canadian Government’s Innovation Supercluster Initiative. NGen investments help build consortia that facilitate broader collaboration and cooperation among SMEs and supporting organizations to accelerate the implementation, scale-up, and commercialization of advanced technologies for manufacturing in Canada.



Date Published: 23rd February 2021

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Note: This content has been edited by a staff writer for style and content.

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