Insects in feed: What do consumers think?

20-03-2015 | |
Insects in feed: What do consumers think?

Over 70% of consumers would eat fish, chicken or pork from animals fed on a diet containing insect protein, earlier studies revealed. The EU funded project PROteINSECT is now asking EU consumers again if they are accepting animal products that ate insect protein.

In last year’s survey, PROteINSECT asked consumers to give their opinion on whether we should allow insect protein to be introduced in Europe as an additional source of protein in animal feed. The results of which were more positive than expected; over 70% of respondents said they would be willing to eat pork, chicken or fish from animals fed on insects.

Second survey launched

To see whether opinions have changed, the project will launch a second survey to gather feedback from at least 1,000 respondents across Europe.  The results will inform the project’s ongoing work with MEPs and European regulators, and will inform Europe-wide policy on our future food security.

Consumer acceptance is key

Insects are a great protein ingredient for livestock diets, but it is still prohibited to use this protein source for food producing animals. Certain questions need to be addressed before governments will sanction the introduction of insects to the food chain in this way – one of which is consumer acceptance. “There would be little point in retailers stocking meat from insect-reared animals if shoppers were unwilling to buy it,” says Dr Elaine Fitches, co-ordinator of PROteINSECT.

Opinion on the safety

Dr Fitches explains: “This issue is already on the European Parliament’s agenda; it has recently adopted a resolution to address the EU’s protein deficit, stating that urgent action is needed to replace imported protein crops with alternative European sources, while DG Sante has commissioned the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to provide an opinion on the available safety evidence around insect protein.”

–       Download the free whitepaper on EU insect legislation here

–       Watch the video of the Dutch insect farm Kreca

–       Read more about the nutritional value of insect meal

Emmy Koeleman Freelance editor