In 2017, Luke Wright was riding a train across Europe, reading an article about the impending food crisis as demands exceed the capacity to produce it. The article talked about insect consumption being a possible solution. Within a year, Luke was researching and breeding various species of insects.
By 2018, Luke had settled on darklings and began to develop potential technologies that would enhance their already efficient qualities. As Luke shared his progress and ideas with his long-time friend, Eli Fouch, it became clear that Eli’s pragmatism and experience in construction would be a boon to the company.
In early 2019 Luke and Eli were determined to bring Manna Sustainable Protein to the market. As the two worked on the marketing materials, Luke consulted with his friend, Kyle Fox. Kyle, who owned an established marketing firm, was eager to get involved, offering to take a more active role in the company.
Within a few months of the Manna team focusing on a path to market, they were offered a spot in the first cohort at Space-F, a food-tech accelerator in Bangkok, Thailand. During the program, Manna worked with Mahidol University, Thai Union, Expara, and the Thai National Innovation Agency to refine Manna Protein.
Two of the program sponsors, Thai Union and Expara, became Manna’s first investors in 2020, providing the necessary funds to establish the Manna alpha facility in San Antonio, Texas.