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CP Foods signs MoU with Chiang Mai University to develop insect protein

Charoen Pokphand Foods (CP Foods) has signed a MoU with Chiang Mai University to develop Black Soldier Fly (Hermetia illucens) insect-based proteins, embracing the Bio-Circular-Green Economy (BCG) model and driving the Thai agriculture industry towards sustainable growth

The agreement, signed by Clinical Professor Niwes Nantachit, MD, president of Chiang Mai University, and Dr Pairat Srichana, senior vice-president of CP Foods, seeks to commercialise insect-based protein as a sustainable alternative food source for both animals and humans.

It also offers great opportunities for circular economy, as insects can effectively help to recycle bio-waste.

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 has joined hands with CP Foods to explore commercial opportunities from the research.

Under this MoU, CP Foods will fund the project and jointly develop the first Black Soldier Fly Smart Farm in Thailand. This pilot farm will also be a learning centre 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 Thai agriculture sector towards sustainable growth, using BCG economy model as an outline. This research will not only benefit both organisations, but also farmers across the country, who can generate extra income from this new economic insect,” said Phimolsiripol.

Dr Srichana added that CP Foods has been working on alternative protein sources, whether it is 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 has developed cricket feed in 2013 and starting 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 Srichana said.