OKLAHOMA CITY – Aaron T. Dossey, Ph.D., president, founder and owner of All Things Bugs, LLC, has received a patent from the US Patent and Trademark Office that pertains to making insect products for food in a way that is more cost-effective and results in a higher quality product, according to the patent.
US patent No. 11,337,451 issued May 24 involves methods for producing insect products that include wet-grinding at least one whole insect into an insect slurry and drying the insect slurry to form a dried insect product comprising of solid insect materials. The whole insects may be superworms, crickets, mealworms, grasshoppers, locusts, katydids, caterpillars or flies.
This method has advantages over current methods for preparing insects for food, which include roasting whole insects and grinding them into powder or meal. Current methods cost more and may destroy nutrients and reduce shelf life, according to the patent.
It takes more heat, energy and effort to dry out whole insects when compared to grinding them up and breaking them open, Dossey said. Since the slurry is homogeneous, the particles contain approximately the same chemical/nutritional makeup, he added. The proteins micro-encapsulate the oils and other nutrients, thus protecting them for better shelf life.
The patent cites the United Nations expecting the global population to grow to more than 9 billion by 2050. Turning insects into ingredients for human food could help feed that population. When compared to vertebrate livestock, insects have advantages such as a high feed conversion ratio, higher reproductive rates, less land use, lower energy consumption, less water use and lower production levels of greenhouse gasses, according to the patent and Dossey’s book “Insects as sustainable food ingredients.”
Though insect-based human food has yet to be widely accepted in the United States, insect-based pet food and animal feed is starting to gain traction. Currently, All Things Bugs offers Griopro cricket powder for use in both human and animal feed products, as well as many other insect-ingredient related services, including farming and consulting.
All Things Bugs is also open to collaborations and partnerships using insect ingredients to create various animal and human food products.
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