PHW Gruppe, Germany’s largest poultry processor, continues its foray into alternative-food categories with an undisclosed strategic investment in insect burger start-up Bugfoundation.

Based in Osnabrück, north Germany, Bugfoundation claims to be the first insect burger manufacturer in the country. The company was set up by co-founders Max Kramer and Baris Ozel.

The idea for the company’s launch was born in 2014 and involved joint research with the German Institute of Food Technology. Bugfoundation’s first insect burger rolled out in Belgium in 2015 and then the Netherlands last year. And this year it made its entrance onto the German market.

PHW said it held “in-depth discussions” with the company and was attracted by the entrepreneurial spirit and the taste of the end product. The interest in Bugfoundation follows on the heels of PHW’s investment in plant-based seafood business Good Catch of the US in August.

And in January this year, PHW formed a strategic partnership with SuperMeat, an Israeli clean-meat business

In a statement provided to just-food, the German poultry firm said: “As the PHW Group, we now have the opportunity to support Bugfoundation in key areas such as sales, logistics, production and product development. We are firmly convinced that this type of novel food, which is rich in sustainable, high-quality proteins and unsaturated fatty acids, will have a significant market share in the future.”

A PHW spokesperson declined to comment to just-food on the investment amount or the size of any stake, but said the transaction was closed in June. 

Bugfoundation’s insect burgers are made using 45% rehydrated buffalo worm-soyprotein, 60% buffalo worms Alphitobius Diaperinus and 40% soy protein concentrate, along with a host of other base ingredients such as tomato concentrate, mustard and potato starch. They are a source of protein and unsaturated fatty acids, and free from artificial additives.