The first US Department of Agriculture (USDA)-funded research program into insect farming for human food has commenced in the US, with the target of finding new ways to enhance cricket growth while lowering the cost of raising them.
A $100,000 grant from USDA’s Small Business Innovation Research program will allow Georgia-based cricket flour producer All Things Bugs to study how to increase automation in the rearing of crickets. The focus of the project, in particular, will be on harvesting, watering and feed formulations.
Insects – the edible variety – were a hot topic at IFT this year. High in protein, low in saturated fat and rich in omega-3, iron, calcium and other nutrients, house crickets are gaining the most traction, although mealworms are also attracting interest, said All Things Bugs founder and CEO Dr Aaron Dossey.
Diets at the best of times are always a bit of a struggle and the fact that we can now incorporate insects as a good source of protein, won’t really diminish that pain.
A group of scientists who met this week at the IFT15: Where Science Feeds Innovation, a conference on the science of food, decided that creepy critters could solve the world’s growing demand for protein.
While cost is a barrier – and regulatory issues need ironing out – mainstream food manufacturers are “way more open” to using edible insects than you would think, says the founder of the word’s largest insect-based food ingredient manufacturer, All Things Bugs.
“We’re having conversations with a lot of food manufacturers in baked goods, snacks, protein powders, and even mainstream food manufacturers have been way more open to this than you probably would think.”
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CHICAGO—The growing consumer demand for protein—and the lack of new farmland to raise more livestock—could make insects an attractive alternative to traditional protein sources, according to a July 13 symposium at IFT15: Where Science Feeds Innovation hosted by the Institute of Food Technologists(IFT) in Chicago.
“We have 7 billion people now and that’s projected to be 9 billion in 2050. We’re already using a third of the land on Earth for raising livestock, and the demand for protein is growing even faster than the population, especially animal protein,” said Aaron Dossey, Ph.D., founder of All Things Bugs LLC. “The good news is I think insects are a very nutritional alternative.”