A food-grade automated cricket processing facility — expected to be the largest in the world — will be setting up shop in London’s Innovation Park.
Aspire Food Group, an edible insect company, says construction on the 12-acre parcel of land at Veterans Memorial Parkway and the 401 is set to begin next month and should be completed by the end of next year. The crickets and their byproducts will be used in “human and pet nutrition, biomedicine and agrochemicals.
According to the company, the facility will be “one of the most technologically advanced and energy efficient protein production systems in the world.”
Mayor Ed Holder welcomed Aspire Food Group to the London region on Monday afternoon.
“You know how in the past people have said ‘well, we’ve gone crickets?’ Well, London’s gone crickets and I think we couldn’t be more proud of Aspire Food Group,” Holder said.
“It’ll start by employing about 60 people with room to hire more folks as demand grows.”
Holder also stressed that the company chose London, Ont., after an “exhaustive search over the past year.” While the company is based in Texas, it has its beginnings in Canada.
“We are thrilled to be building this facility in Canada, where our journey started seven years ago as graduate students at McGill University,” said co-founder and CEO Mohammed Ashour.
Middlesex County warden Cathy Burghardt-Jesson congratulated London on the announcement and noted it will be “great for our whole region.”
In a statement, London Economic Development Corporation CEO Kapil Lakhotia noted the production facility will be a “great addition to our agri-food cluster of more than 90 companies employing over 7,000 people” at businesses including Labatt, McCormick, Dr. Oetker, and Nestlé, as well as “several fast-growing food and beverage startups.”
“We are delighted to attract the jobs, innovation and technology that this state-of-the-art project brings to our community, a boost to our post-COVID economic recovery efforts,” he added.
According to a release, Aspire recently received $10 million in federal “funding and support” from Sustainable Development Technology Canada.