Indonesia has the highest rate of deforestation in the world, according to Greenpeace UK. In the last 25 years, the country has lost 31 million hectares of forest, an area that is almost equal to the size of Germany.
Biteback has developed a process to extract oil from edible insects. This is a much more sustainable option to palm oil – 150 tonnes of insect oil can be produced in one hectare of land per year, compared to just 4 tonnes a year in the same area.
Palm oil is used in a lot of products; you probably don’t even realize how much of it you consume a year. It’s the most traded vegetable oil internationally, it can be found in 50% of all packaged items at the grocery store – everything from that frozen pizza to cosmetics. Since Indonesia is the largest producer of palm oil, the country’s land is suffering. In 2015, Indonesia actually (temporarily) surpassed the United States in greenhouse gas emissions due to slash-and-burn practice to clear the land to make a room for palm oil plantation.
The oil that Biteback has created is of the same consistency as regular cooking oil, and testers said they didn’t notice any difference in taste. And because the oil is made of insects, it’s high in iron, addressing another core problem: anemia caused by iron deficiency. Biteback’s insect oil could do more than help with deforestation, it could also provide the world with a vital nutrient in an easy-to-use method.