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Greece: Turning food waste into food

Greek-owned startup Better Origin makes the most of the food recycling process, turning food waste into top-quality food for poultry and squeezing an entire farm into a container.

Strange though it may sound, the Cambridge, England-based company applies technological findings to food recycling, creating mini-factories for producing animal feed.

“Our technology imitates nature: In nature there is no sense of waste. When something decomposes, either the ground absorbs it or worms eat it, turning it into protein and fat. Then an animal will eat the worm. Therefore there can be no food waste there, unlike in human society where one-third of food produced globally every year goes to waste,” says Fotis Fotiadis, founder and chief executive of Better Origin.

“Inspired by nature, [Slovenian co-founder] Miha Pipan and I turn fruit and vegetable waste into high-standard food for chickens. This is achieved by black soldier fly larvae, which grow 5,000 times their original mass by consuming the waste. This is the outcome of four years of research which started at the University of Cambridge,” Fotiadis explains to Kathimerini.

The actual product of the company, in which the above process takes place, is the X1 container. This turns food waste into food for poultry through an automatic process relieving farmers of this work. It produces up to 5 tons of insect protein per year from a range of biomasses.

“This is a factory squeezed into a container. That includes the equipment found in a production factory, which we assemble. We then use our software for the feeding of the larvae. The algorithms we have developed make decisions on the volume of waste the insects will consume, whether this is healthy and when it is ready to lead to the production of the final product,” he adds.

Better Origin has already installed its system at five UK farms, some of which belong to major supermarket chains and others to small agricultural companies.

“A London-based consultancy has found that an X1 container can reduce CO2 emissions by 565 tons per year,” remarks Fotiadis.