Smart proteins saving our seas: black soldier flies convert waste into high quality food for aquaculture

Type of organisation or company
Other (South Africa)
Language for original content
Key Area
Project elaborated in partnership
Submitted by
Ellen MacArthur Foundation
Start/End date
Expected end date

Just as the circular economy is inspired by natural systems, Agriprotein’s waste conversion process has also been tested and perfected by nature. For over a hundred million years fly species have been breaking down waste material, whilst providing food for fish, birds and animals higher up the food chain. This is the essence of Agriprotein’s business - black soldier flies (hermetia illucens) are used to transform discarded organic matter to high quality protein feed for the fish, poultry and other industries.

The Need - a huge volume of organic waste is generated each year which is expensive to dispose of and leads to harmful methane emissions. At the same time there is a growing demand for high quality protein in the animal feed and aquaculture sectors. Currently this feed is produced in a way that depends on finite resources, and leads to environmental degradation.

The Solution - by using the remarkable nutrient-recycling capacity of the black soldier fly larvae, organic waste can be converted into high quality protein in a short time period.

The residual material from the conversion process is a high quality compost that can be used to regenerate soils.

Main activity field
Main results
  • Avoidance of costs associated with the disposal of organic matter;
  • The carbon impact of switching from fish meal, the predominant source of feed in the aquaculture industry, to insect meal is estimated as much as an 80% reduction; 
  • The environmental cost saving has been estimated as $2000/tonne;
  • The greatest impact could be in helping preserve wild fish stocks; at full capacity one Agriprotein factory can replace the need for 15 million wild fish.