“There is a lot of enthusiasm and curiosity on insects as food”
At a time of increasing population and decreasing resources, especially in a very densely populated area such as North-West Europe, sustainable alternatives for resources for food are needed. Insects could be one of them. As part of Interreg North-West Europe, the ValuSect consortium aims to strengthen the transnational cooperation and exploitation of research on insects as resources for the development of (semi) finished food products.
Last January, the project partners got to know each other and discussed the work ahead on our campus at Thomas More University, where research on insects is taking place. From that moment onward, our work and communication on the project has been ongoing. We are very pleased to notice that there is a lot of enthusiasm and curiosity for “insects as food” in general. This is very encouraging and shows that the sector has a lot of potential.
Regarding the insect production process, a literature review was completed. This resulted in a thorough review based on existing data on emissions of insect rearing. The review also describes the side streams that can be used as feed for rearing insects including their availability and the nutritional requirements of insects.
Our project also researches how to improve the quality of insect processing. A literature study was conducted on six relevant topics: nutritional value, digestibility, techno-functional properties, shelf-life analysis, processing insects as a whole and processing insect to obtain fractions. Based on this, both a methods review and standard operating procedures will be drafted to establish the foundations for the analytical platform that will be used.
Furthermore, a first policy brief was developed and published on the project website to present the complex EU legislative framework on the production and marketing of insects as food and feed.
A cornerstone of our project is the organisation of calls to allocate vouchers to organisations working on insect for food and requiring assistance from experts. Successful applicants will be able to exchange their vouchers for services delivered by the project partners related to insect-based food products, such as support on the cultivation of insects and on marketing approaches for (finished) food products. In order to launch the voucher scheme in autumn 2020, the consortium worked on drafting the catalogue of services and developing the application and selection process.
You can find more information about the project, but also other initiatives, studies, and press articles about insects for food on our social media accounts, our website and in this newsletter!
Enjoy reading and keep in touch to be informed about our progress.
Sabine van Miert (Thomas More University of Applied Sciences), on behalf of the ValuSect consortium