Insect-based food boom? €410K invested in Europe’s edible insect sector
28 Apr 2021 --- ValuSect, a European insect production project, has attributed €410,000 worth in services to 17 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) located in North-West Europe to help them develop their insect-based food business.
The services proposed include technological food development and innovation, consumer acceptance and strategic business services.
After three months of careful consideration, the ValuSect consortium selected the 17 SMEs with the highest ranking in their evaluation.
“We considered different criteria to evaluate the applications: formulation of the problem, innovation, intended results, applicability to the North-West Europe region, as well as the capacity of the consortium to answer the questions of the SMEs,” explains Sonja Floto-Stammen, a researcher at Fontys University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands, in charge of the vouchers call.
“We are overall very satisfied with the quality of the applications.”
The vouchers cover a large range of services, from the development of new cricket-based products, the study of the product safety of insect snacks, consumer acceptance, to the analysis of the European insect companies market.
Spanning a broad range of services
The ValuSect vouchers call, launched last December, was deemed “very successful” by the project, with 60 applications received from 50 SMEs.
The 17 selected SMEs are located in the UK (6), the Netherlands (6), Germany (2), Belgium (1), Switzerland (1) and France (1).
Each SME will receive services from ValuSect partners, worth €10,000 (US$12,000), €20,000 (US$24,000) or €40,000 (US$48,000), depending on the type of requested service.
“The vouchers are a great opportunity to help the development of the insect-based food sector in the North-West Europe area,” underscores Sabine van Miert, project leader at the Thomas More University of Applied Sciences, in Belgium.
“For example, the analysis of the consumer acceptance depending on the type of product could help the sector adapt to the demand.”
A second vouchers call will be launched at the end of 2021, proposing the same menu of services to SMEs in the edible insects sector.
Insect’s role in future food chains
Insects’ key role in building more sustainable chicken and aquaculture value chains, was recently underscored by Bühler. The company notes this is necessary if the industry is to provide adequate protein to feed the world’s ballooning population.
Last month, the European Commission published its “Action Plan for the Development of the Organic Sector” with favorable gains for insect producers looking to contribute to diversifying locally sourced protein feed for organic farmers.
Outside of farming and feed applications, the recent EU approval for yellow mealworm for human consumption was pegged by IPIFF as a “key milestone” for the sector.
And in February, the International Platform of Insects for Food and Feed spoke with FoodIngredientsFirst about the advantages of entomophagy, COVID-19 challenges and how European insect producers have managed to recover faster than expected.
Edited by Benjamin Ferrer
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