As project manager Elena Demidova explains, the protein share in crickets is 75%. It takes 3 kg of crickets to produce 1 kg of a quality meal. The cost of production is estimated at 150 rubles per kg ($2.2). By contrast, currently crickets in Russia are offered on the market at 5 rubles ($0.08) per unit or 15,000 rubles ($220) per kg.
The project was supported by the Russian Government’s Innovation Promotion Fund. Russian media outlet BFM reported that currently no other cricket farms are operating in the country.
A valuable food component
The prospects for crickets are also believed to lie beyond the food component segment.
“We planned to use them [ferocious] as a feed supplement for livestock. There is another sales market – in pet stores. And finally, sports nutrition, as well as gluten-free products,” Demidova said.
“In the livestock industry, they use meat and bone meal, fish meal and blood meal – anything with protein. Insects have a huge advantage because it doesn’t only 2 kilograms of food, or even a little less, and 2 liters of water are needed to grow one kilogram of crickets,” said farm owner Eugeniy Demidov.
trial and error
Crickets grow for 6 weeks, at a temperature of 30 C, although this can vary at different stages. Demidov said the technology has been shaped over the past year using trial and error. During this period, the farm faced several challenges as the crickets can run away and eat each other, he added.
“We had no experience at all. Neither with crickets nor with insects,” Demidov said, admitting that the applied technology is still considered rather primitive. “But our task is to automate production, that is, to switch to industrial production of these comrades.”
Expansion of production
Demidov added that so far the production of crickets is limited to several modules and the farm has 3 employees. The start-up aims to find customers in order to increase production performance.
“Now we want to rapidly increase the production volume. In the future, these will be multi-row racks. In separate modules, a microclimate will be maintained, and water and food will be provided,” Demidov said.