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Exclusive interview with CEO and co-founder of FreezeM, Dr. Yuval Gilad

In an exclusive interview with African Farming, CEO and co-founder of FreezeM, Dr. Yuval Gilad sheds light on their new cutting-edge technology centred on the black soldier fly (BSF), while also highlighting the companys commitment to sustainability

Can you provide some insight into the technology used by FreezeM for BSF breeding and rearing?

Dr. Yuval Gilad (YG): FreezeM's innovative technology, coupled with our expert entomology team, streamlines the production of insect-based protein through controlled and consistent Black Soldier Fly (BSF) breeding and colony supervision. At our EU flagship factory, we provide ready-to-use 'life-suspended' neonates known as PauseM, allowing for the separation of biologically complex breeding from the rearing and processing units. The PauseM technology facilitates the safe transportation of BSF neonates over long distances and enhances stock and process standardisation, addressing current shortcomings in production methodologies. Our customers simply need to retrieve PauseM units from their on-site stock based on their production needs, activate the neonates through a straightforward procedure, and rear them using local feedstock until they are ready to harvest.

How does BSF contribute to environmental sustainability?

Dr. Yuval Gilad (YG): FreezeM champions a circular economy, transforming side streams from agriculture and food industries into sustainable feed and fertilizers through the synergy of nature’s superpowers and cutting-edge technology. Additionally, leveraging the Black Soldier Fly (BSF) for bioconversion helps mitigate current carbon and methane emissions resulting from the incineration or landfilling of organic waste and agricultural residues. Lastly, by entrusting the breeding process to FreezeM, our customers can design and position their rearing facilities in close proximity to waste streams, optimising logistics and energy resources.

Could you provide a brief about the project and the role it plays in waste management?

Dr. Yuval Gilad (YG): FreezeM stands as a market leader in Black Soldier Fly (BSF) breeding, driving increased waste management efficiency through patented 'life-suspended', high-performing BSF neonates on a large scale. Our tailored, ready-to-use neonates offer a cost-effective solution by employing a 14-day life-cycle suspension. This approach enhances process efficiency and reduces operational costs, enabling swift market entry for waste management companies. They gain increased scalability potential by being able to order and stock any volume of BSF larvae neonates. Furthermore, it opens avenues for new revenue streams for waste management firms through larvae processing, yielding high-quality protein for animal feed, oleochemicals, and organic fertilisers.

What makes FreezeM unique from its competitors?

Dr. Yuval Gilad (YG): FreezeM is the only company that enables the production of insect protein at scale through outsourced breeding, eliminating the need for setting up a reproduction module at each factory. This achievement is solely possible due to our innovative technologies that are unmatched by any other players in the market. Our approach allows any insect farm, regardless of size, to access stable and consistent production methods and effectively utilise waste streams. This enhances control and efficiency in a sector where current insect farmers are limited in scale due to the necessity of developing costly and complex entomology and reproduction units to manage the eggs and larvae required for sustaining production.

What are your future plans to scale up production?

Dr. Yuval Gilad (YG): We are expanding the overall production capacity of our factories and will have two breeding hubs operating in 2024, located in Israel and Europe. This expansion will grant us the ability to support multiple industrial BSF protein production sites and demonstrate our model at scale. These breeding hubs will deliver PauseM globally on a bi-weekly basis