I am doing the exact same thing you are but not just with mealworms.
Also, my motivation is not for human consumption as I think that is a foolish short-term goal.
Using current methods:
Each bin per month, 30,000 larvae avg
1 minute 40 seconds - [FEEDING] monthly - (10 seconds, 2x week) or every 3 days
1 minute - [FRASS SEPERATION] - monthly
2 minutes, 40 seconds
A single worker or owner can manage 160 bins per day at a cost of $200.
8 minutes per bin per month to turn pupae to beetles.
3 days per month, $600
So for $800 per month in labor… (even if paying yourself)
You can produce 4.8 million mature large mealworms without any fancy equipment.
This will produce a profit selling live mealworms to a niche hobby market.
This will produce a profit selling frass.
You can buy a sorting machine factory-direct from China - no innovation necessary.
NO FUNDING NECESSARY - HARD WORK AND MOTIVATION IS ALL YOU NEED.
Now for livestock feed:
1,600 lbs of live mealworms
32 bags of 50 lb feed @ $20/bag = $640
It’s not currently profitable.
Nor is it profitable selling for human consumption.
Research my problems and provide a compelling argument.
- Increasing supply will reduce demand
- Livestock feed, 50 lbs of grains is $17 avg
Can you retail 50 lbs of dried mealworms for $17 and be profitable? (other insects produce faster? yes)
- In order for insects to be a required affordable food source in the US, the population will need to double or experience a disaster of epic proportions.
- Veganism is a trend and so is paleo, neither insect focused
- You, foolishly giving a small business idea for free to others who can easily replicate it on a small budget with little to no risk. Motivation and follow through produces success, not knowledge or experimentation.
Now I have no issue sharing this with you because I have found success in many business ventures over the past 10 years. Right now farming is my current passion and sole pursuit. I did not outline the costs nor the methods required in order to avoid competition from a reader in a very niche market. There is profit in this market if you target the right niche. My suggestion is that you do the same and diversify.
My goal is to produce everything on my farm for pennies and work my acres into society accepted foods that I myself will enjoy consuming. I cannot force others to eat insects and if society shifts in the future… I will do my best to be ready.