April 6, 2016, by Emma Lowry

‘Ento-preneurs’ meet to tackle the future of protein in food and feed

A basket of Chapulines (Roasted Cricket) in a Mexico. Credit: Meutia Chaerani / Indradi Soemardjan http://www.indrani.net

A basket of Chapulines (Roasted Cricket) in a Mexico. Credit: Meutia Chaerani / Indradi Soemardjan http://www.indrani.net

The planet’s population is expected to exceed nine billion by 2050, and current food production will need to almost double. In 2013 the United Nations’ Food & Agriculture Organisation stressed that a new approach to food production was crucial if the human population is to avoid future shortages. Their suggestion: edible insects.

Woven Network is the UK consortium for insects as food and feed – with a focus on connecting businesses, researchers and others working on the role of insects in the human food chain.

Around two billion people around the world already consume insects as part of their regular diet due to their high nutritional value, versatility and flavour. But it is their sustainability credentials that has lead the UN to highlight insects as the potential future of food, requiring minimal resources to farm and producing substantially less waste than conventional livestock.

Despite the obvious benefits, Western society is yet to adopt the practice on a large scale. With our influence over farming R&D and investment, the UK can play a pivotal role in developing the infrastructure behind insect farming for the benefit of future generations.

A growing number of entrepreneurs & researchers here in the UK have been looking into our aversion to insects in the food chain and how they can change our minds. Woven Network and RES presents an opportunity to share learnings, collaborate on building public awareness and affect government regulation concerning the industry.

Attendees & Speakers include:

  • Josh Bentham & Harry Harrison from Mophagy – EU insect distributor for the renowned Entomo Farms
  • Christine Spliid, creator of Crobar by Gathr Foods – Best new concept winner at the World Food Innovation Awards 2016
  • Matt Anderson & Adam Routledge from Edible Bug Farm – Winner of the Shell LiveWIRE Smarter Future Award
  • Shami Radia & Neil Whippey from Eat Grub – with their imminent release of a new insect cook book
  • Indroneel Chatterjee & Janine Dermody from Oxford Brooks Uni – On the Neuro-science behind our disgust for eating insects in the west.
  • Jonas House from Sheffield Uni – Examining the willingness of EU consumer to switch to eating insects.
  • Maureen Wakefield – Senior applied Entomologist at FERA & Andrew Salter, head of Nutritional Sciences at The University of Nottingham will shed light on how research and industry can work together.

On Monday 11 April,Woven Network will be holding its first conference at The University of Nottingham, in partnership with the Royal Entomological Society’s Entomophagy Special Interest Group.

This first of its kind conference in the UK will combine the latest research with progressive businesses talking about the opportunities and market development that will see the UK as a leading light within the exciting, sustainable, growth industry that is insects for human consumption.

For more information on the Woven conference, click here.

Posted in Biosciences