Canadian Manufacturing

Aspire Food Group tackling tech and data challenges in the midst of supply chain crunches

The current focus for the Aspire team is in relationship-building and identifying key partners that can use Aspire’s data to help them.

August 6, 2021  by Sadi Muktadir

Aspire Food Group constructing a new insect protein production facility in London, ON.

When speaking to Mohammed Ashour, there’s no indication that anything’s slowed down at Aspire Food Group.

The CEO and Co-Founder of Aspire Food Group, a cricket protein manufacturer, is currently heading an expansion on the heels of their $16.8M in funding from NGen which includes a manufacturing facility near London, ON currently under construction.

“Supply chain crunches have definitely effected construction costs and timelines, and increased lead times on certain things, but we’re still moving ahead,” says Mohammed. “Things like plastic resin prices skyrocketed, and at the volume we needed them at, it was better to wait than to explore other suppliers.”

Mohammed credits the appetite of investors during the pandemic to Aspire’s resilient presence, as well as a $10M grant from the Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC).

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Aspire is already a near-paperless organization, on the cutting edge of Industry 4.0’s smart factory evolution. All of their data is cloud stored, and the software solutions they do employ are cutting down on the infrastructure costs of running a large business.

“Once our facility is up and running, we don’t foresee having more than one or two technicians or operators per thousands of square feet,” says Mohammed.

The current focus for the Aspire team is in relationship-building and identifying key partners that can use Aspire’s data to help them. As a new company, Aspire is seeking to build partnerships with distributors, advanced tech companies and food processors to combat their current challenges.

“We want to work with companies that have already solved problems like ours so we don’t really need to reinvent the wheel ourselves,” he says. “Whether that’s a company that can optimize our data to help us improve our yield, or a company that has a machine learning solution for data gathering itself, we recognize that we’re not a company that’s necessarily cut our teeth on neural networks. So it makes much more sense to partner with a company that does this for a living. The same goes for our cloud storage and data retrieval. Finding the right vendor and partner that can help us with that is one of the main challenges right now.”

Aspire says they haven’t found the right partner yet that can study their unique model and use their solution to help Aspire grow to new insect protein-manufacturing heights. But it’s clear that Aspire is dialled in to tackling their manufacturing problems using Industry 4.0 tools. They’re engaged with finding advanced tech companies with solutions around machine learning, AI, automation and more, all in an effort to become the premier company for alternative protein manufacturing.