While insects are a source of dietary protein for roughly 30% of the population worldwide, insects have a far smaller household penetration in the US and Europe.
Scandals about traditional protein sources (meat replacement, eggs issues, recalls etc.), population growth and food shortages ask the question of introducing a cheaper and more sustainable protein source in our meals such as insects. Over 1,000 species of edible insects currently exist. The most common ones include water beetles, wasps and larvae. Ana Christina Day, Founder & CEO of 4ento said, “It only takes 1 litre of water to produce 1 kilo of crickets, in comparison to 22,000 litres of water to produce 1 kilo of beef”.
Insects are not widely consumed across Europe. Few exception are becoming apparent including a beetle soup eaten in Germany, a Sardinian cheese made with maggots, and sugared butterfly wings served in Northern Italy.
High cultural barrier are not the only reasons why Europe and US do not massively consume insects. Insects for human consumption in EU must comply with the food regulation requirement making compulsory for manufacturers and retailers to submit insects-based products to risk assessment before they can be commercialized.
Regulation about insects based food
If, Belgium and the Netherlands have taken a more relaxed approach, with national rules that allow marketing and commercialization of local insects-based products, Luxembourg is extremely reluctant to introduce insects' products in the country. “Luxembourg does not intend at this stage to adopt a more tolerant approach, and no marketing of insects for human consumption is permitted without prior authorization from the European Commission” Luxembourg's food safety service said.
The European Commission has asked the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to review the microbiological, chemical and environmental risks associated with insect consumption and production for food. Conclusions are expected by July 2015.
It could be very interesting for manufacturers and retailers to enter this new market with few competitions. However, it is important to be in compliance with local and global regulations and be able to track products from raw material until the shelf. Lascom Solutions provides PLM to assist food companies in product innovation and product lifecycle.
- A robust R&D module to efficiently develop and launch new products. It automatically calculates weight, cost and generates labeling with required format
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- A central repository to benefit from a “single version of the truth” and to give customized access to participants regarding their roles in NPD process