Insect-based protein start-up Flying Spark gets Thai investor

Cash injection will allow the Israeli company to install insect growing and processing capabilities in Thailand

Thai Union Group (TUG), one of the world’s largest seafood producers, has taken FoodTech start-up Flying Spark under its wing and will invest in the alternative protein company. With the strategic partnership, the Israeli company will move ahead with its insect growing and processing capabilities in Thailand and dedicate efforts towards cost reduction and process improvements.

The Flying Spark is one of the first nutraceutical companies to benefit from Thai Union's venture fund, which the company launched with an initial commitment of US$ 30 million for investments in innovative companies that are developing breakthrough technologies in food-tech.

The fund focus on three strategic areas: alternative protein, functional nutrition and value chain technology.

“Over the last years, Thai Union has made significant investments to become a leader in seafood innovation and sustainability,” said Thai Union CEO Thiraphong Chansiri. “As we move into the coming decade, we will increasingly cooperate with innovative start-ups in strategically interesting areas. This will complement our own activities as we are broadening our business beyond our traditional core.”

Insect-based alternative protein

Flying Spark uses larvae from Ceratitis Capitata, that in nature feed on fresh fruits. The larvae have a lifespan of only seven days yet multiply their body mass 250 times in that period.

Proprietary technology enables easy and low-cost cultivation and processing, Flying Spark claims, with nearly zero waste, as all parts of the larvae are used. "This gives Flying Spark an edge over conventional protein sources — not only those from meat and plants but also over other insects, such as crickets and grasshoppers," the company says.

“We are excited to collaborate with this leading multinational seafood company,” expressed Eran Gronich, CEO and founder of Flying Spark. “Thai Union and Flying Spark see eye-to-eye on the need for future alternative protein products to offer high-value protein while minimizing the ecological footprint. This marks a significant step forward in bringing insect protein into the food industry mainstream.”