October 21, 2022 – Algae worms and crickets move closer to EU panels after the latest round of approvals, as the marketing of alternative products containing protein-packed insects in Europe looms. According to the Insect Umbrella organization that supports the burgeoning industry, the products could be available as soon as next year, opening up a whole farm of sustainable nutritional foods.
The International Insect Platform for Food and Feed (IPIFF) welcomes the green light to the authorities of the European Union member states on draft implementing regulations from the European Commission, with the aim of allowing the marketing of dried and frozen formulations of small mealworms (Phytobios diapers(and house cricket partially defatted)Ashita Dominicus).
“These two types of edible insects are proposed to be used as an ingredient in many food products, among which, they can be used in bread, cereals, protein bars, pasta products, meat analogues and many more,” Alice Grassi, communications director at IPIFF tells food ingredients.
Positive opinion from member states will lead to approval of these products in the next few weeks.
With rapidly changing dietary habits and consumers’ willingness to try new protein-rich products, edible insects are gaining more attention across Europe, Grassi notes. Although increasing Western appetites for insects may still be a challenge.
“At first, European consumers may feel intimidated by the novelty of these products and the fact that they have never tried them,” she explains. “We believe that consumer acceptance is driven and will be driven by change in social and cultural aspects, demand for and access to the product.”
Future foods, including restaurant menus, supermarket shelves and even online, will include insect-based products. They can be made to look like burgers, sausages, and a slew of other alternative protein counterparts.
“The more edible insect products we have in our supermarkets and restaurants, the more Europeans are discovering different recipes and tastes in their diet and understanding their environmental and nutritional benefits,” Grassi asserts.
“The new food permits will also play a constructive role in shaping the market, facilitating access to insect-based products in EU countries,” she says.
On the topic of sustainability, insects can contribute to reducing the burden of food waste, as they are fed with underutilized agricultural food by-products such as vegetables, fruits and starch origin, or food that is no longer intended for human consumption (for example, unsold produce from supermarkets). supermarkets and bakeries as well as waste left over from the food manufacturing process).
“Thanks to their biotransformation properties, insects convert these ‘low-value’ materials into high-quality protein-rich products, which are then reintroduced back into the food chain,” Grassi explains.
“Hence, local production of such food ingredients not only strengthens agri-food turnover – it also improves regional self-sufficiency.”
“It is produced from farmed insects, and the aspect of sustainability is given by its low environmental impact and high efficiency in terms of water and land footprint,” she continues.
Because of the vertical farming techniques implemented, insect farming requires less arable land as insect farmers use vertically aligned “boxes” to raise insects. Most commonly, cultured species can absorb the water they need from their substrates.
Companies that submitted applications
Two edible insects have been applied as Novel Food Provided by Ynsect Netherlands (formerly known as Protifarm) and Vietnam-based Cricket One.
As part of Novel Food’s actions, these two applications received a favorable opinion from the European Food Safety Authority in May (for Cricket 1) and in July (for Ynsect Netherlands).
The recent approval of home cricket represents another step towards allowing additional products derived from this type of edible insect, following Novel Food’s first license on home cricket in March.
In the case of small mealworms, this decision will result in Novel Food’s first license for this insect food product.
According to Novel Food’s procedures, executive actions are expected to be approved before the end of the year. The licenses will then give the producer the right to market the products in the European market.”
“After this green light, the draft implementing regulations will have to be adopted by the European Commission’s body of commissioners. After this approval, the implementing regulations will become a de facto mandate.”
Ÿnsect is building the world’s largest insect farm scheduled to open at the end of the year. The French company expects a significant increase in the demand for insects as a healthy alternative to meat.
By Gaynor Selby
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