World’s largest cricket processing plant being built in London

Roasted edible crickets. File photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / Komngui.

A Texas-based company looking to make eating bugs as common as biting into a beef patty will soon be setting up shop in London.

Aspire Food Group will be building the world’s largest food-grade automated cricket processing facility at Innovation Park, near Veterans Memorial Parkway and Highway 401.

A global industry leader in the production of edible insects, Aspire plans to hire 60 people initially to work at the 100,000 square foot facility.

“This highly innovative and internationally renowned firm represents a significant addition not only to London’s growing food and beverage sector, but also to Innovation Park where Aspire’s facility will soon occupy 12 acres,” Mayor Ed Holder said in a statement. “With our economy in the early stages of recovery, Aspire Food Group’s imminent arrival is proof that London’s industrial land strategy is succeeding at expanding and growing our workforce in new and diverse ways.”

The plant will be one of the most technologically advanced and energy efficient protein production systems in the world, according to the London Economic Development Corporation. It will produce premium alternative protein products for both human and pet consumption.

While not common in North America, insects are a popular food source in developing regions of Central and South America, Africa, and Asia. In addition to being a good source of protein they also contain vitamins and minerals. Crickets in particular, are high in calcium.

“This first-of-its-kind commercial facility will enable not just Aspire Food Group, but our entire growing sector to take an important stride forward in our mission to deliver an excellent-value protein at a fraction of the environmental impact of most conventional protein sources,” said Mohammed Ashour, co-founder and CEO of Aspire Food Group. “We are thrilled to be building this facility in Canada, where our journey started seven years ago as graduate students at McGill University.”

The federal government is kicking-in $10 million toward the cost of constructing the new facility in London. Work is slated to begin in August, with plans to open the facility by the end of 2021.

London’s agri-food sector is already home to more than 90 companies including Labatt, McCormick, Dr. Oetker, Cargill, Original Cakerie and Nestlé.