Consortium to strengthen the development of insect-based food products
Companies who are interested in helping the ValuSect consortium improve the sustainable production and processing techniques of insect-based products and transfer developed knowledge to agri-food businesses in North-West Europe.
The companies can receive a voucher worth up to €40,000 in services delivered by the project partners to develop products, conduct consumer taste panels, optimise breeding conditions and improve insect food processing. The launch of the vouchers will take place during this autumn.
ValuSect, which stands for Valuable Insects, is a consortium of partners coordinated by Thomas More University and supported by a €2,08m grant from the Interreg North-West Europe programme.
ValuSect’s aim is to expand the trade in insects as food is limited in Western countries at a time of rising population and decreasing resources, especially in densely populated areas such as North-West Europe.
“The question is no longer if insects can be the solution for the increasing protein demand; now the focus is on the search for the best strategy to strengthen this development,” said Sabine Van Miert, project leader, Thomas More University.
Approximately 30% of EU consumers are willing to eat insect-based food. ValuSect wants to increase this number by improving the quality of insect production and processing, carrying out consumer tests, and reducing its environmental impact.
Research will focus on the emission of greenhouse gasses, the impact of substrates, food safety and on the shelf life of insect-based food products.
The project will use species that already have an application running for authorisation under the EU novel food regulation. Beyond the lead partner, the project consists of nine full members and eight associated partners from seven different countries.
The full members are Inagro vzw, Aberystwyth University, Zürcher Fachhochschule, Stichting Fontys, Innovatiesteunpunt, Teagasc, New Generation Nutrition Pro-Active, AliénorEU and BIC Innovation Limited. The project will run until June 2023.
Improving insect production as well as consumer attitudes are at the heart of the project, which aspires to make insects an essential part of the sustainable diet of tomorrow in North-West Europe.