This is #foodtech entrepreneur Åsa Martén, one of the geniuses behind Tebrito – the startup producing high quality protein raw material from mealworms.
“I think I have been an inventor all my life.”
Tebrito is deeptech of the week and one of the 12 winners of the 2017 ÅForsk Entrepreneurial Scholarship.
Sustainable mealworms based protein raw material with high functionality for a climate-efficient food production.
With a master’s degree in food science from the Swedish agricultural university (SLU), and years of work in food safety and quality management, Åsa Martén and her companion has developed a business for sustainable insect based protein with 82% purity, i.e. the same protein quality as beef.
– With a great concern about environment I’ve longed for contributing to the climate challenge and a healthy protein supply to humanity. My driving force is to take part in the necessary change that needs to take place in the protein consumption patterns, Åsa tells us.
Introducing new products from climate friendly systems, Åsa is strongly convinced that the broad population will develop new traditions in the daily intake of protein.
– Not necessarily in form of a beef steak for dinner, but rather as protein-dense breakfast/snacking products as pancakes, bread or smoothies. One of my personal goals is to reduce animal production as is, by making use of alternative sources less afflicted with ethical problems than the regular meat industry.
– 5 years ago my companion read an article about how extremely efficient insects are to convert biomass into high-quality protein, and we began to wonder how westerners could accept this kind of novel food. We got this idea that people would more readily accept insects if they were incorporated into food as a neutral food ingredient, Åsa explains:
– So we started joint cooperation with SLU, and it resulted in our process of protein extraction from mealworms, that we now have been able to scale up.
Tebrito’s protein has 82 % purity. It´s neutral in taste and has the same protein quality as beef.
– We have seen that our protein is shelf stable and we have proven that it’s ideal as a food ingredient.
– The toughest challenge has been to combine a full-time day job, being a parent and being an entrepreneur at the same time. The fact that the legislation situation is still unclear also affects the landscape for us as a company.
The Tebrito team is backed by Dalarna Science Park.
– Dalarna Science park have been very supportive and helped us a lot in developing our business model and strategy! It’s very good to have aid and access to people with so much experience and knowledge.
Sustainable foodie and entrepreneur Åsa Martén also received the 2017 ÅForsk Entrepreneurial Scholarship in collaborations with Swedish Incubators & Science Parks just a month back.
– I think the scholarship is a great acknowledgement to our business idea. It creates the possibility for us to focus our forces on preparing an introduction for our novel protein raw material into the Swedish and European markets. We are in the beginning of a great shift in the global protein supply and we intend help shape and lead the development of Swedish insect industry.