Mr Bug is the UK’s first DEFRA approved mealworm bug farm, a sustainably-honed believer in all-natural mealworm nutrition.
Dried mealworms contain 53% protein, 28% fat, 6% fibre, 5% moisture and the complement of canine-beneficial amino acids and minerals.
Yes, there are other bug-oriented foods on the marketplace, but a vast majority champion ‘cattle feed favourite,’ black fly larvae. Conal and Paul were instead determined to take a stand for the humble mealworm, the undisputed Rolls Royce of nutritious grubs, that marry a gastronomic nutty twang with a head-turning array of nutritional stardust. In short, this is a hypoallergenic mono-protein without equal!
Interestingly mealworms contain:
- More B12 than salmon
- More calcium than milk
- More iron than spinach
- AND all 9 essential amino acids
How it started
Mr Bug was conceived by Conal Cunningham who decided that Lockdown was a great opportunity to develop an indoor, highly intensive protein farm insulated from the effects of climate change. As someone who looked back on his earlier times in rural Devon with immense fondness, it was perhaps inevitable that Conal would use this as a way to escape to both the beauty and simpler pleasures provided by the Great British countryside.
According to Conal, ‘The idea of owning an insect farm had been burrowing away for a while as I looked at the sustainable nature of bugs and grubs, so I sat down with my good friend Paul who’d escaped to the countryside before me and convinced him over a few beers and a lot of laughter to join me on my latest curved ball adventure.’
Championing insect farming was only one part of the Conal/Paul masterplan, the other was to actively support not only the rural economy (utilising wherever plausible like-minded local operations – dog treat bakers, distinguished pet food distributors, packaging designer…..) but also actively supporting the circular economy.
In Mr Bug’s case such a commitment revolves around Mr Bug mealworms being brought up on Cornish bran, a vitamin-rich by-product of Cornish wheat milling which makes a highly digestible, healthy mono-protein. The resulting frass (mealworm manure) acts as a nutritious, all-natural fertiliser that is sent back to the SWs local, wheat farms.
Another benefit of nutrient-dense mealworm powder is that it mingles effortlessly with best-in-class real foods to create truly addictive crunchy bug bites, hero ingredients that include everything from apples, parsnips, cranberries and sweet potatoes to honey, peanut butter, beetroot and vegan cheese.
‘It was vital for us,’ continues Conal, ‘to offer all-natural treats that were the very antithesis of all those dog treats and foods that still pack their treats full of salt, sugar, lazy fillers, low-grade meats and synthetic nasties.’
Grants and awards
For all Mr Bug’s insistence on using simple, back-to-basics ingredients, vertical farming depends on high technological advances which explains their pride at receiving a prestigious government-backed Innovate UK grant.
‘Such fantastic financial support enables Mr Bug to dig deeper and truly understanding mealworm habits and behaviour,’ concludes Conal. ‘By developing ‘self-cleaning’ rearing trays that use the natural movement of mealworms to clear waste coupled with robotic cameras and heat sensors that aid optimal feeding, which also acts as an ‘early warning’ system with regards disease or unwelcome pests, we feel confident of developing techniques to scale up our facility’.
With significant ‘early doors’ distribution already in place, Mr Bug is determined to not only become a leader within the major petfood chains and wholesalers, but also discerning indies, delis, farm shops, pet-friendly pubs and hotels.
Having won a Nourish Gold for nutritional integrity, a Blue Patch rosette (sustainability) and a Good Shopping Guide accreditation the future looks anything but grubby!
More info, here
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