RHEWUM joins the Food Revolution
In cooperation with biologists, RHEWUM has developed a new screening machine for sorting mealworms. Screening mealworms poses unique technical challenges with regard to animal health and safety.
New gentle sieving method developed for use in large mealworm farms
In cooperation with biologists, RHEWUM has developed a new screening machine for sorting mealworms. Mealworms are gaining importance in the food industry as a sustainable source of high quality protein, and screening them in an animal friendly way poses unique technical challenges.
Mealworms have long been regarded as unwanted additions by the food industry, but they have enormous potential for making our future more sustainable. Mealworms may not look like much, but they contain top quality protein and unlike other animals raised for meat, their impact on the environment is much less and they have few requirements for a healthy existence in accord with their needs. Increasing demand for sustainable, climate friendly alternatives to conventional animal protein means an increase in the demand for mealworms.
Mealworms are raised from egg to usable larva in large mealworm farms. In order separate the subadult animals from full grown adults ready for processing, the mealworms have to undergo sieving. This involves highly specialised technical challenges: The animals must neither be injured nor subjected to high acceleration speeds, and at the same time any technology in use must satisfy the demands of the modern food industry in terms of speed, efficiency and processing output. The mealworms also like to cling to the sieving mesh, if it is made of conventional wire.
Together with a team of scientists specialising in insects, RHEWUM has deveoped a screening method that solves these problems both efficiently and without animal cruelty. The result is a new type of screening machine with a specially coated sieving mesh, which gently separates mealworms into three different categories of size, as well as separating them from their food substrate. Further screening lines use several steps to separate byproducts from the substrate either for processing or reuse. This animal friendly and at the same time highly efficient technology is going to be put into action on one of the world’s largest mealworm farms in the near future.
With this technology, RHEWUM is not only improving conditions for animals in the food industry, but supporting a climate friendly alternative to the conventional meat industry, which indirectly improves both the world food situation and contributes to sustainability.