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Opinion

Overcoming Technical and Market Barriers to Enable Sustainable Large-Scale Production and Consumption of Insect Proteins in Europe: A SUSINCHAIN Perspective

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Wageningen Livestock Research, P.O. Box 338, 6700 AH Wageningen, The Netherlands
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Wageningen Food Safety Research, P.O. Box 230, 6700 AE Wageningen, The Netherlands
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CIVIC Consulting GMBH, Potsdamer Strasse 150, 10783 Berlin, Germany
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INAGRO, Ieperseweg 87, 8800 Roselare, Belgium
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Research Group for Insect Production and Processing, Department of Microbial and Molecular Systems (M2S), Geel Campus, KU Leuven, Kleinhoefstraat 4, 2440 Geel, Belgium
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Department of Agricultural, Forest, and Food Sciences, Università degli Studi di Torino, Largo P. Braccini 2, 10095 Grugliasco, Italy
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Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, University of Copenhagen, Rolighedsvej 26, 1958 Frederiksberg, Denmark
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German Institute of Food technologies (DIL e.V.), Prof. Von Klitzing Strasse 7, 49610 Quakenbrueck, Germany
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Sociedade Portuguesa de Inovacao Consultadoria Empresarial e Fomento da Inovacao SA, Av Marechal Gomes da Costa, 1376 Porto, Portugal
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Brian T. Forschler
Insects 2022, 13(3), 281; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13030281
Received: 14 February 2022 / Revised: 1 March 2022 / Accepted: 10 March 2022 / Published: 12 March 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Insect Chains)
Insects are increasingly being used in Europe as a new or alternative source of protein for both direct human consumption and ingredients for feed and food production. Upscaling edible insect production and processing to a sustainable industrial sector is critical to supply the market and meet the foreseen future demands. In a market where transition to more sustainable protein sources is one of the primary challenges, sustainable insect products can contribute to a circular and sustainable economy as well as food security. SUSINCHAIN (SUStainable INsect CHAIN) is a European Horizon 2020 project that aims to contribute to overcome technical and market barriers to enable sustainable large-scale production and consumption of insect proteins in Europe by generating and sharing knowledge, as well as testing, piloting, and demonstrating newly developed insect chain innovations and increasing societal engagement. This article provides an outline of the various obstacles to upscaling of the insect sector and the project’s contributions to overcome these. The project covers the topics of: market opportunities, consumer perception, optimization of insect rearing conditions and substrates, insect transportation and processing techniques, application of insect products in food and feed, food safety issues in insect production and processing, together with economic and environmental sustainability. The project’s outcomes will provide tools for scaling up and commercializing the European insect sector.
The expected global population growth to 9.7 billion people in 2050 and the significant change in global dietary patterns require an increase in global food production by about 60%. The protein supply for feed and food is most critical and requires an extension in protein sources. Edible insects can upgrade low-grade side streams of food production into high-quality protein, amino acids and vitamins in a very efficient way. Insects are considered to be the “missing link” in the food chain of a circular and sustainable economy. Insects and insect-derived products have entered the European market since first being acknowledged as a valuable protein source for feed and food production in around 2010. However, today, scaling up the insect value chain in Europe is progressing at a relatively slow pace. The mission of SUSINCHAIN (SUStainable INsect CHAIN)—a four-year project which has received funding from the European Commission—is to contribute to novel protein provision for feed and food in Europe by overcoming the remaining barriers for increasing the economic viability of the insect value chain and opening markets by combining forces in a comprehensive multi-actor consortium. The overall project objective is to test, pilot and demonstrate recently developed technologies, products and processes, to realize a shift up to Technology Readiness Level 6 or higher. In addition to these crucial activities, the project engages with stakeholders in the insect protein supply chain for feed and food by living labs and workshops. These actions provide the necessary knowledge and data for actors in the insect value chain to decrease the cost price of insect products, process insects more efficiently and market insect protein applications in animal feed and regular human diets that are safe and sustainable. This paves the way for further upscaling and commercialization of the European insect sector. View Full-Text
Keywords: alternative proteins; edible insects; feed; food; insect rearing; novel proteins; opportunities; processing; safety; sustainability alternative proteins; edible insects; feed; food; insect rearing; novel proteins; opportunities; processing; safety; sustainability
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MDPI and ACS Style

Veldkamp, T.; Meijer, N.; Alleweldt, F.; Deruytter, D.; Van Campenhout, L.; Gasco, L.; Roos, N.; Smetana, S.; Fernandes, A.; van der Fels-Klerx, H.J. Overcoming Technical and Market Barriers to Enable Sustainable Large-Scale Production and Consumption of Insect Proteins in Europe: A SUSINCHAIN Perspective. Insects 2022, 13, 281. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13030281

AMA Style

Veldkamp T, Meijer N, Alleweldt F, Deruytter D, Van Campenhout L, Gasco L, Roos N, Smetana S, Fernandes A, van der Fels-Klerx HJ. Overcoming Technical and Market Barriers to Enable Sustainable Large-Scale Production and Consumption of Insect Proteins in Europe: A SUSINCHAIN Perspective. Insects. 2022; 13(3):281. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13030281

Chicago/Turabian Style

Veldkamp, Teun, Nathan Meijer, Frank Alleweldt, David Deruytter, Leen Van Campenhout, Laura Gasco, Nanna Roos, Sergiy Smetana, Ana Fernandes, and H. J. van der Fels-Klerx. 2022. "Overcoming Technical and Market Barriers to Enable Sustainable Large-Scale Production and Consumption of Insect Proteins in Europe: A SUSINCHAIN Perspective" Insects 13, no. 3: 281. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13030281

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