SPECIAL REPORT: Insects as a Sustainable Protein Source
27 Jun 2016 --- As last week was National Insect Week (UK), FoodIngredientsFirst takes a closer look at insects as an alternative protein, other nutritional values and today’s progression of entomophagy into the western world.
Proti-Farm is world’s leading producer of edible insects. They are based in The Netherlands and with the acquisition of Kreca in 2014 they are in the insect producing business since more than 35 years. The company group started with over 10 different insect species for the animal feed industry, however since 2007, the group has been producing edible insects for human consumption.
Heidi de Bruin, CEO of Proti-Farm Holding NV told FoodIngredientsFirst: "To continue serving the ongoing increasing demand for food insect ingredients, we are currently scaling up our facilities with the lesser mealworm. Soon we will produce thousands of tons of wet larvae and we will expand our facilities worldwide. The demand for insects as a food ingredient for products like protein powder is increasing rapidly, our worldwide customer base keep asking for more."
"The industry needs continuous and guaranteed and safe supply of these food ingredients and only a few suppliers are able to scale up the insect production," says de Bruin. "Recently our organization has been HACCP certified for our lesser mealworm which guarantees strict regulations in terms of safety and track and trace of the materials."
"Proti-Farm is proud of its customers who have shown to be each of them entrepeneurs in developing high quality protein based products for the food industry," adds de Bruin.
Massimo Reverberi is the founder of Bugsolutely Ltd, based in Thailand and he tells FoodIngredientsFirst that it was only a few years that the edible insect market in the western world didn’t exist, he says: “Except for the last few centuries in the west, edible insects have always been consumed all over the world. There are different theories about the reason for this behavior, including economical ones and not just cultural. Many western foods are considered repulsive in Asia, and vice versa. We cannot forget that sushi was once disgusting for many westerners, not too long ago, but now it’s wildly eaten all over in the US and in Europe.”
Reverberi says that many edible insect companies focus on protein, protein bars and drinks, and protein powder products, however he doesn’t consider edible insects as just protein. He says: “Insects contain a lot of other nutritional properties, and they are an incredibly sustainable food requiring very few resources to be farmed and avoiding the footprint left by cattle, in particular methane emission.”
The aversion of insects as food in the human chain of the western world is certainly an interesting topic of conversation. As evidenced, several food companies are tapping into this still, fairly new movement of insects as a sustainably protein source. Many arguments stand unanswered though, as we continue to address farming, sustainability and nutrition issues, the decision of accepting insects into our everyday diets remains with the population of the Western world. In particular, the vegetarian dispute raises many questions of ethics and dietary beliefs. However, with new developments and innovative products launches clearly on the rise, it could just be a matter of years in which the world unites and sees entomophagy as the universal way to consume more protein.
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