Sustainably produced, nutrients from insects
The solutions needed to achieve a sustainable food system already exist; this is the philosophy behind Sibö Tech. The company supplies the food industry with functional proteins, lipids and other valuable components derived from insects. Sibö Tech joined Foodvalley in September 2021 to find new customers and other innovative companies to team up with.
“Sibö is the primary deity in the Talamancan mythology of Costa Rica, our home country,” says Alejandro Ortega, CEO and co-founder of Sibö Tech. “He taught people what foods are safe to eat, showed them how to plant crops, and set down rules regarding the sustainable use of natural resources – including insects.”
Insect-related innovation programs
An FAO report on global food security, published in 2014, inspired Ortega to dive more deeply into the topic of insects as a sustainable nutrient source. On his journey, he became impressed with the extensive insect-related innovation programs of Foodvalley and Wageningen University & Research and the open-collaboration strategy of the Netherlands. “Everything pointed to Wageningen, so we opened an office in the Netherlands and decided to join Foodvalley,” he explains.
Accessible for the market
“Becoming a Foodvalley Member feels like the logical next step in our business, the beginning of something new,” Ortega stresses. “We want to get in touch with large ingredient suppliers and food manufacturers that could become our customers. But we are also targeting innovative start-ups and mid-sized companies that are, like us, developing products and ingredients that contain components derived from insects. With our knowledge and expertise on how to develop a sustainable supply-chain that has added value for all parties involved, we can support them in making their products accessible for the market.” In their turn, Ortega and his colleagues would like to learn more about new sustainable extraction technologies.
Sibö Tech breeds its insects in a rural area near Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast, providing vulnerable people in local communities with extra income. The insects are fed waste streams and the breeding has a zero net use of electricity and water. The company has developed an innovative technology to process the insects into powder and separate the valuable bio-components that it contains. Applications range from bioactive food ingredients and sustainable proteins for food to sustainable packaging and biomaterials.