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Roadmap for upscaling insect protein production

Global environmental charity WWF-UK and supermarket giant Tesco have commissioned agricultural consultancy ADAS to lead a project towards the development of a roadmap for the scaling up of insect protein for animal feed.

It comes at a time of rising demand for ingredients with a high protein content for livestock and aquaculture feed, whilst dealing with concerns that frequently used ingredients such as soybean meal and fishmeal are having notable environmental impacts, including deforestation and fish stock depletion.

Insect-fed products have already hit the shelves in Europe. Photo: Shutterstock
Insect-fed products have already hit the shelves in Europe. Photo: Shutterstock

Around 69% of the UK’s soya imports, for example, come from South America, and 20% of global wild fish catch is used for fishmeal.

ADAS will lead a consortium that includes leading agricultural law firm Michelmores LLP and Multibox, a producer of insects from vegetable waste. One of the Consortium’s first initiatives has been an invitation to stakeholders to participate in an online survey.

Chickens prefer eating insect larvae meal
A study set out to determine whether broilers displayed a preference (or not) for Tenebrio molitor mealworm by evaluating ingredient acceptability and bird performance.

Among the stakeholders set to take part in the initiative are insect producers, poultry and pig producers, feed suppliers and mixers, aquaculture and salmon farmers, researchers, waste stream owners, and regulators and policy advisers.

Charles Ffoulkes, associate director Sustainable Food and Farming at ADAS, said the project’s key objectives were to:

  • Evaluate the evidence base around insect protein production;
  • Assess a range of waste streams that could be utilised (e.g. Black Soldier Fly (BSF));
  • Develop a roadmap that sets out how to rapidly scale insect protein production;
  • Draft recommendations that overcome the key barriers and challenges (e.g. legislative, environmental, financial, social, etc.)
Photo: ADAS
Photo: ADAS

WWF-UK are looking to carry out an independent and neutral assessment of the potential of the insect industry, including environmental impacts, economic feasibility and potential to valorise waste and/or by-products.The report will be published online and will function as a piece of evidence to support and guide future advocacy activities.

Insect Protein
The popularity of insect meal as a new protein has taken off – find out about new developments, regulations and innovations.

Insect-fed products have already hit the shelves in Europe: consumers in the Netherlands can buy OEREI Eggs, laid by hens fed with grain, seeds and BSF. And in France, shoppers at Auchan superstores can buy trout fed on BSF.