PhD project : Economic feasibility of insect farming in Europe
In the light of a necessary shift towards more sustainable protein production, insect farming for feed and food has a high potential. The emerging insect sector with its dynamic nature is growing and changing fast. Despite a lot of attention for its positive impact on sustainability, insights into the economic risk profile and farm figures are not yet available. This research aims to assess economic feasibility of insect farming in Europe. The specific objectives are to i) provide a comprehensive overview of the farm economics of insect farming; ii) assess the risks, barriers, and opportunities for insect farms; iii) assess the economic feasibility; and iv) design and evaluate viable business models. For the first objective, a literature research on relevant economic parameters and experiences will be conducted . With regard to the second objective, a structured survey with European insect farmers and supply chain actors will be carried out. In the third objective, financial data obtained through semi-structured interviews with insect farmers will serve as input for stochastic simulation in order to retrieve insights into expected profitability but also in variation around this. In the last objective, results from focus groups with European insect farmers and stakeholders will provide input for viability assessment of business models. Results of this research are expected to contribute to the development of the insect sector as insight in economic figures and business potential enhances access to finance and other services.
This project is part of the SUStainable INsect CHAIN (SUSINCHAIN) project which aims to contribute to novel protein provision for feed and food in Europe by overcoming the remaining barriers for increasing the economic viability of the insect value chain and opening markets by combining forces in a comprehensive multi-actor consortium.