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BBC Future Food Award

BBC Food and Farming Awards - Featured Image

The BBC have opened nominations for their Food and Farming Awards 2016.

One of the categories is Future Food, where they are looking for:

“…cutting-edge innovation and pioneering work that could influence how the UK’s food will be grown, distributed and sold in future. This award is for an ambitious and ground-breaking idea found within the food supply chain; from initiatives by national retailers and major food and drink manufacturers to new models being put into practice by farmers and producers. We want to hear about the big ideas other food businesses will want to follow. It could be work that deals with sustainability, health, food safety, energy or waste; any initiative which is scalable, commercially viable and applicable to food production and distribution in the UK.”

If this sounds like you, or anyone you know, you can fill in the nomination form here.

Image Credits: BBC

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Two programmes with pieces on insects for food or feed in the same week!

Countryfile - Featured Image

This week saw an edition of Countryfile that reported on the ProteINSECT project that FERA is leading, focusing on insects for livestock feed.  A few days later, there was an edition of Tomorrows Food that had as its first item a piece on insects for human consumption.  If you missed them they are both worth finding on iPlayer.

The Countryfile piece reported that 75% of members of the public, in a survey, said they would be happy to eat meat that had been fed on insects.  Worrying really that 25% presumably have some concerns about this.

The Tomorrows Food piece focused on a large US cricket farm and the fact that the best way to get the public to try insect material is by disguising it in cookies, tortillas etc.

Countryfile

Tomorrows Food

Nothing ground-breaking here but positive in the general campaign to turn public opinion.

Do make use of these to get conversations going!

Image Credits: BBC

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Edible insects growing presence at Food Matters Live

Food Matters Live - Featured Image

I was very pleased to see that four businesses had a stand at last week’s Food Matters Live conference and exhibition and there was a presentation on new product development involving insects by Bingham and Jones.  Given that it was at last year’s FML where we had our very first gathering of those interested in this (when I think only one business had a stand – Grub) this is becoming a measure of progress and an opportunity to take stock.

I had an interesting talk with a guy promoting a range of oriental sauces plus some noodles made of charcoal which apparently are very good for you.   It struck me that selling food products as that contain insect material as part of a wider range of interesting foods is probably a good strategy, not least in order to maximise your success as a business because of the uncertainties over regulations in this area, going forward.  Also, will help to convey the message that insect-based products are just part of a range of new things to try.

The businesses with stands were:

Shami and Neil of Grub
Shami and Neil of Grub
Bingham & Jones demonstrating their products
Bingham & Jones demonstrating their products
Christine Spliid and colleague of Crowbar
Christine Spliid and colleague of Crowbar
Jonny Bingham of Bingham & Jones
Jonny Bingham of Bingham & Jones
Eli Cadesky of C-fu Foods Inc.
Eli Cadesky of C-fu Foods Inc.

Image Credits: Nick Rousseau

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Encouraging Malawians to eat insects

Farming in Malawi - Featured Image

I was at an event recently organised by the Overseas Development Institute and was telling someone about Woven, when she told me the story of her mother, Annabel Shaxson, who lived in Malawi in the Seventies.  At that time, much as now, Malawians were starting to see the Western lifestyle as something to aspire to, including eating Western style food. Annabel was concerned that they were going to loose the value of their heritage and local food sources so she and some friends wrote a cookbook that offered a range of recipes but included a chapter on Insects – emphasising throughout that Westerners would love these.

Eg.

Opening with “It is not generally known in the Western world that insects are a very good and cheap source of protein.  Taxonomically, these insects are not far removed from shrimps which are considered a great delicacy in the West.”

Ana a Njuchi (Bee larvae) – Method: Remove the nests from the tree and boil them.  Take out the larvae from the comb and dry them.  Fry with a little salt, and dry again if desired. Serve as a relish or as an appetiser.

Dziwala (grasshoppers) – These large grasshoppers are mostly found in the late dry season though a few are seen throughout the year.  Method: Remove the wings and the horned part of the legs.  Boil them in water for 5 minutes and then dry in the sun.  Winnow off any remaining wings, and fry in a pan with a little salt.  They may also be fried with a little fat.  Serve as a relish.  If frying with fat, a little chopped onion, chopped tomato and/or groundnut flour may be added to the pan.

I believe this book may still be available for sale in good Malawian bookshops!

Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons

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European Food Safety Authority Opinion

EFSA - Featured Image

The EFSA published its Opinion on the relative safety of insects for food and feed, compared with other sources of protein on 8 October.

You can read the report here:

http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/press/news/151008a

This sets out both what is known about the extensive consumption of insects but also all the areas where not enough is known.  It should be a useful reference point for those looking to work up research proposals but also needs to be considered carefully by the industry to look for ways to minimise risks while still offering high quality products.

Those developing insect farming technologies will also find this very useful.

Nick

Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons

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Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) report recommends insects to become part of our diets

WRAP Report - Featured Image

The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) is an organisation that focuses its efforts on moving the world towards more sustainable use of resources.  As such it pays particular attention to waste and how waste can be reduced/turned into value.

WRAP have just issued a report on the future of food and include recommendations that insects should become a staple part of people’s diets because of the opportunity that gives to make better use of waste.

Read the report here:

http://www.wrap.org.uk/content/food-futures

Read an article in the Guardian about this here:

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/nov/05/eating-insects-should-part-sustainable-diet-future-report

Woven will explore how to link with WRAP in this area as insect farming will require the development of sustainable sources of suitable insect feeding material and this can be a challenge given the variations in the value that waste streams can attract as a result of factors outside of our control.

Nick

Image Credits: WRAP

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Review of research requirements for insects for livestock feed

Global Food Security Programme - Featured Image

The Global Food Security Programme ran a workshop recently looking into the research that needs to be done to enable insects for livestock feed to become accepted.

They have now published their report which can be found at:

http://www.foodsecurity.ac.uk/news-events/news/2015/151023-n-report-insects-to-feed-livestock.html

This should help ensure that the research funding councils will respond positively to project proposals – but do let us know if they dont.  There is a forum topic on this to discuss the whole area.

Nick

Image Credits: Global Food Security Programme

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European Novel Foods Regulations now recognise edible insects!

European Parliament - Featured Image

The European Parliament agreed a new set of Novel Food Regulations on 28 October which recognise that edible insects can be included – whether whole or only part of them.

This will require companies selling products that include insect material to comply with requirements to demonstrate their safety but companies already trading have some time to work up the necessary evidence.

Here is the full text of what was agreed.

It is not an easy ready so here is a link to an article that sets out the implications:

http://foodhealthlegal.com/?cat=17

Woven will be keeping in touch with these developments and providing more info as things become clearer. Also, you can join the Forum to take part in discussions on the implications of all this and help us understand your position.

Nick

Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons

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Welcome to Woven!

Woven Logo - Featured Image

Just to kick off the blogging here.  Woven is coming together at a very significant time for the European insects for food and feed industry with the European Commission finally taking this new sector seriously and developing its thinking on the regulations to put in place.  We want Woven to become a force for effective change to make the UK and beyond places that those in the industry can operate with clear standards and a growing acceptance by customers – and where those interested in research in this fascinating area can get support and tap into the real world challenges entomophagy throws up.

So watch this space!

Nick