Insect company, Tebrio, scaling up production in Spain, with aquaculture market firmly in its sights

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

Mealworm (tenebrio molitor) © Tebrio
Mealworm (tenebrio molitor) © Tebrio

Related tags: mealworm, Tebrio, Insect, Aquaculture, Protein

The aquaculture sector will be a priority market for Spanish mealworm ingredient producer, Tebrio, once its new facilities are online in 2024.

The company is currently building an 80,000 square metres farm in Salamanca, Spain, that will produce 100,000 tons of products derived from mealworm (tenebrio molitor) a year.

Right now, 90% of our gross revenue comes from pet food and 10% from aquaculture. But once our new facilities are completed, aquaculture should be our main market,”​ Fran García, spokesperson for Tebrio, told us.

The company, which has venture capital backing, is investing about €60m in the construction of the new factory.

Tebrio is in the process of scaling up production, said García. “We expect to grow our production tenfold each year, to reach 100,000 tons [output] by 2024.”

In terms of what makes the Spanish firm stand out in what is fast becoming a very competitive landscape, he said that, as a result of technology developed in-house, Tebrio can offer large production volumes at prices that compete with current raw materials in the feed market.

Founded in 2014 in Salamanca, Tebrio also champions sustainable production, ​claiming its current operations have a negative carbon footprint.

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Clinical data supporting the nutritional profile of its protein product, branded as oProtein, was undertaken by a laboratory in Salamanca, reported García. The product is deemed to have a crude protein concentration of over 72%, to be highly digestible, and to have a high oleic content fat profile as well.

In terms of the aquaculture market, Tebrio is targeting oProtein at feed for both freshwater and marine species. The product is designed to promote the growth of fry and juveniles at a critical time in their early life, according to Sabas de Diego, the company’s CTO.

On top of protein meal for animal and fish feed, Tebrio also produces a frass product for use as an organic fertilizer for plant nutrition and it has a chitosan extract for multiple industrial uses.

Tebrio is participating in Acuisost, an EU-funded Spanish project​ involving academic and industrial partners. The initiative aims to promote the sustainability of aquaculture through the implementation of nutritional strategies based on novel ingredients and technological additives.

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