Improving insect rearing for food and feed

Will we be eating pasta and bread made from insect flour in the future? We will if Europe has anything to do with it, as the European Union wants to become less dependent on raw materials as protein sources from outside Europe. That is why scientists at Wageningen University & Research are collaborating with European colleagues in a study on the use of insects in food for humans and animal feed.

To meet the demand for protein, the EU wants to reduce imports of protein-rich crops such as soya and become more self-sufficient. This is more sustainable because fewer imports mean lower costs, less energy consumption due to transport and less deforestation for the cultivation of soya. Soya is grown mainly in Latin America as a protein-rich raw material for animal feed.

Insects are a good alternative to these proteins. They are a source of high-quality protein and can easily be cultivated locally. In the European SUSINCHAIN (Sustainable Insect Chain) project, the Wageningen scientist Teun Veldkamp and his European colleagues are exploring the options for incorporating insects in animal feed and food designed for humans. SUSINCHAIN's ambitions are concrete: to replace at least 20 per cent of the animal protein consumed in Europe with insect protein by 2025 and to increase production volumes and jobs in the insect farming sector by a factor of 1,000.

In Africa, incomes are rising and that has led to an increase in the demand for meat and fish. So prices are going up steeply too. On top of that, it is debatable whether the planet can bear the burden of meeting that demand sustainably
Teun Veldkamp