Aspire Food Group fully automates a protein production facility with DarwinAI’s adaptive control technology


Aspire Food Group

A next-generation precision agriculture facility employs production automation to address food insecurity and scarcity—scalably and sustainably

About The Project

To optimize the production of a sustainable protein alternative and a nutrient-rich fertilizer—while minimizing the environmental impact—Aspire Food Group is using our deep learning technology as an automated control system that ingests and analyzes, in real time, more than 50 input parameters from more than 5,000 Industrial IoT (IIoT) devices. The result of our work—alongside several other partners including TELUS, Swift Labs and A&L Labs—will be around-the-clock, high-throughput agricultural production that would not be possible with human operators.

Total Project Funding
Projected annual protein alternative production in pounds
Projected annual fertilizer production in pounds

Difference Makers

  • Automation and manufacturing expertise turns vision into reality
  • Transparency into neural network decisions builds trust for fully automated production
  • Performance scalability allows the platform to ingest and analyze real-time inputs from thousands of sensors

About Aspire Food Group

The Aspire Food Group is a global leader in advanced insect agriculture. Aspire’s primary products (processed crickets) are disruptive in a world market for meat estimated at $1.4T USD. Aspire’s byproduct, frass, is sold in a $200B USD market for organic fertilizers.

Year Founded
Headquarters in Canada

Using Computational Agriculture to Address Food Insecurity

Food scarcity remains a major global issue and it is projected to get worse—the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that food production will have to nearly double in the next thirty years. In February 2021 the Aspire Food Group announced they would tackle this pressing problem and they began constructing a state-of-the-art cricket farming protein production facility in London, Ontario. With backing from Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGen)—Canada’s Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster—and with support from several industry-leading partners, the $72M+ project is constructing the smartest indoor protein production facility in the world.

There are a number of hurdles to overcome before the adoption of alternative protein sources such as insects becomes mainstream. Aspire is addressing the issue of high pricing by introducing automation, ASRS, sensors, AI, and densification technologies into their facilities.

Learn more about this breakthrough initiative from the partners involved

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Smart, Socially Responsible Manufacturing

Aspire is pioneering sustainable insect agriculture as a protein alternative, processing crickets into all-natural, sustainable superfood ingredients. This project is also notable because the frass—a byproduct of cricket production—is a high-quality fertilizer.

To maximize yields and efficiency while minimizing environmental impact, operations will employ industrial automation and robotics, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) devices, and deep learning. In fact, this facility is the first time IIoT sensors, automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRS), and AI will be deployed in climate-controlled, indoor vertical agriculture with living organisms.

Better Data, Better Tech, Better Food

Sensors designed and developed by Swift Labs will monitor the environment, using a private industrial 5G IoT network from TELUS to provide real-time insights into conditions and plant operations. In this sophisticated solution, our deep learning tool will analyze more than 50 input parameters to unearth insights that can improve more than 15 output parameters, creating a feedback loop that changes plant conditions—for example, humidity, temperature, and food supplies—to ensure the crickets are healthy and maximize their yield while minimizing costs (e.g., due to water, natural gas, electricity, etc.).

In the first stage of implementation, our models will provide recommendations to plant operators; in stage two, the models will control production in a completely automated feedback loop.

Input Parameters
Output parameters
IIoT sensors

Interested in leveraging our technology for smart manufacturing?