A new European research project called SUSINCHAIN started Oct. 1 that aims to contribute to the provision of a novel protein — insects — for feed and food in Europe, according to an announcement from Wageningen University & Research (WUR), which is leading the project.
According to WUR, SUSINCHAIN aims to overcome barriers to increasing the economic viability of the insect value chain and opening markets by combining forces in a comprehensive, multi-actor consortium.
Edible insects can upgrade low-grade side streams of food production into high-quality protein, amino acids and vitamins in a very efficient way, WUR said, calling insects a “missing link” in the food system of a circular and sustainable economy.
According to the announcement, insects and insect-derived products have been in the European market since about 2010, when they were first acknowledged as a valuable protein source for feed and food production. However, scaling up the insect value chain is progressing at a relatively slow pace, WUR said.
Insect value chain stakeholders in and beyond the SUSINCHAIN consortium have identified the strategies and related activities needed to overcome the current hurdles for scaling up the value chain, WUR said. The project aims to test, pilot and demonstrate recently developed technologies, products and processes to realize a shift up to "Technology Readiness Level 6" or higher for insect chains based on black soldier flies, houseflies, mealworms and crickets for feed and/or food production.
These actions will provide the necessary knowledge and data for stakeholders 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 human foods that are safe and sustainable, WUR said.
The project will be 48 months in duration and will be conducted in collaboration with 18 industrial and 17 academic partners with a total budget of more than 8.5 million euros, WUR said. Dr. Teun Veldkamp will serve as project coordinator, and Ine van der Fels-Klerx will serve as deputy coordinator. Both are WUR staff members.
SUSINCHAIN partners include: WUR, INAGRO, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Universita Degli Studi Di Torino, Kobenhavns Universitet, Deutsches Institut für Lebensmitteltechnik, Sociedade Portuguesa de Inovação, Civic Consulting, AgriProtein Holdings, Bioflytech, Universidade Catolica Portuguesa, DSM Nutritional Products, Dymotec, ForFarmers Corporate Services, Hermetia Baruth, HiProMine, Havforskningsinstituttet, Acondicionamiento Tarrasense Associacion, Sociedade de Estudos de Analise Sensorial a Produtos Alimentares, Technische Universität Berlin, Medizinische Universitat Wien, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Eidgenoessische Technische Hochschule Zuerich, Microwave Energy Applications Management, Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Institut National De La Recherche Agronomique, Danmarks Tekniske Universitet, EWOS Innovation, Nutrition Sciences NV, New Generation Nutrition, Bühler Insect Technology Solutions, Bestico, Bugging Denmark and Protifarm.