GLOBAL – The insect food and feed markets are forecast to grow this year as consumer preferences continue to shift away from animal-based proteins.

The shift from animal proteins is stimulated by consumer awareness of the significant carbon footprint of livestock production which directly contributes to global warming.

Comparatively, insect proteins require smaller amount of physical space, eliminating the need to clear forests for animal agriculture and have a significantly smaller carbon footprint.

This makes insect rearing a more sustainable and environmentally friendly way of producing proteins.

Additionally, insect proteins contain diverse vitamins, fibers and amino acids necessary in both human and animal food.

Their nutritional benefits have made them popular, especially in Europe where they have become valuable additions in various formulations

Analysts at the International Platform of Insects for Food and Feed (IPIFF) in an interview with FoodIngredientsFirst expressed confidence that the market for insect and feed will expand due to the above factors.

Another factor supporting insect protein a recent EU approval for yellow mealworm for human consumption.

Christophe Derrien, IPIFF secretary-general, says that the EU approval was a “key milestone” for the sector.

“This ruling will likely pave the way for the EU-wide authorization of the products covered by this opinion and is also expected to act as an enabler for the other applications presently evaluated by the EU risk assessor,” Derrien notes.

According to Christian Bärtsch, IPIFF executive committee member in charge of communication, supply of insects to meet expected rise in demand has been assured thanks to the local production of insects and their derived ingredients.

To further sustain the growth of insect proteins market, Derrien notes that his organization IPIFF is sustaining efforts to educate the European population to understand and eat insects.

To do this, IPIFF is working on “entertaining, close and friendly” communication to convey the advantages of entomophagy.

In 2021, the organization plans to implement its initial objectives to offer a range of products that are ever tastier, healthy, and with a low environmental impact, highlights Rabastens.

Moreover, Bärtsch adds that the edible insect sector is developing formulations that will meet the nutritional needs of consumers while also considering their environmental concerns.

As IPIFF works to encourage uptake of insect protein in Europe, growth of the novel protein source is expected to also happen in earnest.

Barclays projects that cumulatively, the global the insect protein market could be worth up to US$8 billion by 2030.

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