CAPE TOWN - Soldier Black Fly larvae made a debut at the World Economic Forum in Africa's (Wef) annual conference in Cape Town this week.
It certainly tasted like ice-cream - this reporter tried all three flavors at the Absa Dome on the fringes of the conference - strawberry, chocolate and peanut butter.
Gourmet Group co-founder Jean Louwrens said milk made from Soldier Black Fly larvae might easily be the dairy of the future, and his company could already source one ton of it per hour.
Entomilk, produced from Soldier Black Fly larvae farmed from two farms in Cape Town, produces milk that has 28 percent more protein than conventional cow's milk.
The milk is lactose free with a calcium content of 150 percent of human requirements.
It does not produce dangerous greenhouse gases as cows do, while one kilogram of food fed to the larvae produces a kilogram of milk, while for conventional dairy operations, the ratio is four-to-one, making fly milk, in the longer term, less expensive and more efficient to produce, said Lowrens.
In addition, because it was produced indoors, it was not sensitive to climate change risk, as many farming operations might be in future.
"In time, the money will made selling the milk business-to-business for commercial dairy use," he said.
For now though, the technology required to make dairy products from the larvae was still relatively expensive, and Gourmet Group was selling limited quantities of dairy product through a store in Woodstock and well as marketing the dairy product, the milk and powdered milk, as part of a speciality culinary offering that includes Mopani Worms and Mealworms.
"At present, we produce as the orders come in. As demand increases, so the price of the technology will drop and we will be able to scale up our operations. In future, we think it can become a viable alternative to dairy. For now, its still ice-cream," said Louwrens.
UN deputy secretary general Amina Mohammed said at the conference that the organisation would hold a world congress on nutrition in two years time, and one of the things that would be addressed is the new technology and investments that will be required to produce nutrition for a sustainable and healthy lifestyle, also for the poorest of the poor.
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