Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Loopworm: Creating insect protein for livestock and even pet food

Insects don't need a lot of arable land or portable water that plants need and greenhouse emissions from insect cultivation are much lower than that of composting

Harichandan Arakali
Published: Feb 15, 2023 02:50:49 PM IST
Updated: Feb 15, 2023 02:56:30 PM IST

Loopworm: Creating insect protein for livestock and even pet foodAbhi Gawri (left) and Ankit Alok Bagaria, C0-founders, Loopworm Image: Nishant Ratnakar for Forbes India

Ankit Alok Bagaria and his friend Abhi Gawri started Loopworm towards the end of 2019 immediately after graduating from IIT-Roorkee. They saw an opportunity in insect biotechnology, a nascent field in India. They are developing insect-based protein products that can go into animal feeds, including livestock, poultry and aquaculture.

Loopworm aims to use even insect skins and droppings to make a soil supplement rich in minerals that could help restore soil quality. They are also developing a nutritious pet food product based on insect proteins.

“Insects by far cause the least stress on the environment. They don’t need a lot of arable land or potable water that’s needed for many plant-based sources,” Bagaria points out. “And the greenhouse gas emissions from insect cultivation are almost 2,000 times lower than composting, which is the prevalent solution for food waste management.”

Loopworm: Creating insect protein for livestock and even pet food
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“We want to harness the entire potential of what insects can bring to the table,” says Bagaria. For example, insects can offer natural antimicrobial peptides that can be a safe alternative to the humongous quantities of antibiotics used in the farm sector.

Bagaria and Gawri have raised $3.4 million in seed funding from marquee investors, including Omnivore, WaterBridge and Titan Capital. They’ve set up their research and development in Bengaluru, and expect to partner with a large number of farmers in raising the insects, contributing to the farmers’ livelihood as well.

(This story appears in the 24 February, 2023 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)