Insect food may be widely available in a decade or so

Credit: Adobe Stock
Credit: Adobe Stock

Insect farming has a small impact on the natural environment compared to traditional animal husbandry, says Dr. Małgorzata Nowacka from WULS-SGGW. In her opinion, it will take a decade or so for a wide range of insect products to be available on the market.

The European Commission has approved the use of house cricket powder in food production. Products based on the powdered insect Acheta domesticus will be sold in the European Union countries. The regulation came into force in January. Cricket powder will be used as an additive in products such as whole grain breads and rolls, grain bars, cookies and crackers, meat products and soups. The EU document allows, for example, up to 2 g of cricket powder per 100 g of product in whole grain bread, 3 g per 100 g of product in grain bars.

As of March 5th, 2023, the larvae of the litter beetle (Alphitobius diaperinus) will also be approved for sale in the EU in the following forms: frozen, paste, dried, and powdered. They have been added to the EU's novel foods list.

According to Dr. Małgorzata Nowacka from the Faculty of Food Technology at WULS-SGGW, the European Commission's approval of the use of certain resources will have an impact on the possibility of new products appearing on the market. She emphasises that “for several years, products based on or with the addition of insects have been introduced to the European market.”

The expert points out that eating insects is widespread in many countries. Their breeding has a small impact on the natural environment compared to traditional animal husbandry and is considered a solution aimed at ensuring sustainable use of resources for food production.

She adds that it will take a few or even a dozen years for insect-based products to be widely available. She mentions that there are few such products in Poland, while in other countries they are niche products such as bars or crackers. However, the European Commission's approval of the use of insects or their parts for food production will open the way for designing and testing new products, says Dr. Nowacka.

In her opinion, consumer habits and fears associated with eating insects are important for new products. As a result, she says, efforts are being made such as adding insect powder to products such as cereal, meat, baked goods, or confectionery. She said: “The addition of insects in a powdered form allows to significantly overcome consumer fears and aversion to consuming such products.

“Insects are a source of high-quality protein, fat, including unsaturated fatty acids, and they contain minerals and vitamins and chitin, which can act as fibre substitute.”

However, she added that as this is a new food many tests are still needed to ensure its safety.

According to the expert, insect food is not currently a threat to Polish cattle, swine, and poultry farmers. However, she said that “there is a general trend of reducing meat consumption.” (PAP)

Author: Adrian Reszczyński

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