Charoen Pokphand Foods PCL (CP Foods) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Chiang Mai University to develop insect-based protein from black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens), embracing the bio-circular-green economy (BCG) model and driving Thai agriculture industry towards a sustainable growth.
The agreement, which was recently signed by Clinical Professor Niwes Nantachit, M.D., president of Chiang Mai University, and Dr. Pairat Srichana, senior vice president of CP Foods, aims at commercializing insect-based protein that is a sustainable alternative food source for animals and human.
Assoc. Prof. Dr Yuthana Phimolsiripol, director of Food Innovation and Packaging Center (FIN) at Chiang Mai University, said that, initially, the university researched on multiple black soldier fly’s products such as skincare from the insect’s larvae oil.
The university partnered with CP Foods to explore commercial opportunities from the research. Under this MoU, CP Foods will fund the project and jointly develop the first smart farm for black soldier fly in Thailand. This pilot farm will also be a learning center for students, farmers, and the community.
“Chiang Mai University and CP Foods have the same goal, which is to explore the new products for driving the Thai agriculture sector towards sustainable growth, using the BCG economy model as an outline. This research will not only benefit both organizations but also farmers across the country, who can generate extra income from this new economic insect,” Dr. Yuthana.
Dr. Pairat added that CP Foods has been working on alternative protein sources, whether it is a plant-based protein, cell-based protein, and insect-based protein in response to the new sustainable food trend and building food security. He explained that the company has a keen interest in the insect sector. Previously, the company developed a cricket feed in 2013 and started to research the benefits of black soldier fly in 2016.
“Black soldier fly is a sustainable choice for alternative protein and fat sources. Therefore, we are making a traceable and value-added insect protein. We hope that our partnership with Chiang Mai University will pave the way for a sustainable and profitable insect industry in Thailand,” Dr. Pairat said.