Virginia Emery, Ph.D.
Sustainability roundup: Mealworms as a sustainable ingredient for pet food and treats — Virginia Emery, Ph.D., CEO, Beta Hatch, explains how interest in insects as a sustainable alternative protein ingredient in pet food has attracted significant public, investor and research attention in recent years. Insects offer significant environmental and social improvements over traditional animal proteins, and a growing body of work shows health benefits as well. Now, DARPA-funded research shows the extent of the capability of mealworms to bioremediate mycotoxin-contaminated grain, opening even wider doors to the sustainability story of insects as animal feed. This session will focus on the results of that research and the opportunities it presents for pet food sustainability.
Emery is founder and CEO of Beta Hatch, a pioneering insect farming company that is industrializing insects as a feed ingredient. Beta Hatch is fueled by a passion to see insects reach their true potential in our food systems. The company has grown to be internationally recognized for its scientific approach to scaling insect production and operates North America’s largest mealworm farm for animal feed production in Washington State. Emery is the country’s most innovative insect entrepreneur, recognized as a Visionary Grist 50 Fixer. Emery has a Ph.D. in entomology from the University of California, Berkeley, has been awarded over 20 grants and honors, and has published on subjects ranging from chemical communication to genetics to insect behavior. Her life’s mission is to breed a bug that tastes like bacon.