The psychology of edible insects, with Paul Rozin

Paul Rozin EntoCall - Featured Image

We are very pleased to announce that we are sponsoring next week’s EntoCall with Professor Paul Rozin.

Heralded as “the world’s leading expert on disgust”, Professor Rozin’s research has focused on human food choice, analysed from biological, psychological, and anthropological perspectives. He has studied the cultural evolution of cuisine, the development of food aversions and food preferences, family influences in preference development, attitudes to meat and psychological responses to recycled water – among many other fascinating topics.

EntoCall is a recurring international teleconference serving the edible insect industry. There will be the opportunity to pose questions to Professor Rozin.

The event is free to attend, and will start at 7pm (GMT) on Monday 15 February.

Register here

Image Credits: Nordic Food Lab

Funding call for research proposals

Strathclyde University - Featured Image

Strathclyde University have issued a Funding call.

If you are a business or researcher with a great idea for sustainable feeds for finfish, this could be your moment.

They are looking for expressions of interest (EOI) in sustainable feed projects. They should focus on one of the following areas:

  • health effects of feeding, including gut microbiome, changes in diet and susceptibility to disease
  • sources of EPA/DHA
  • alternative protein sources, locally sourced, low environmental impact.

FSA Novel Foods Workshop

Food Standards Agency - Featured Image

Today I attended the FSA workshop on Novel Foods Regulations, with Neil Whippey of Eat Grub.  It was a really useful and informative although we came away with some challenges for the fledgling UK insects for food sector (insects for feed was not in scope).

Full report will follow as an in-depth article for Woven members (see membership offer coming out soon).

A few highlights:

  • There is a £4,000 fee for applying for Novel Food approval and you have to submit one for each individual product that has a distinct risk profile
  • There is scope to secure a blanket approval relating to an ingredient but this would potentially need to be very tightly defined  – this could mean multiple companies securing this together, or Woven acting on their behalf, to share the costs
  • You can trade now and manufacture, market and sell products with whole insect material.  From January 2018 when the new regulations come in you will only be able to continue if you are in the process of working through a Novel Foods application – but this process can take up to 18m and you can trade throughout.
  • The potential for insect materials in foods to cause allergic reactions needs research and careful thought.  Woven will seek to work with its members and the FSA to ensure that the right balance is struck between risks and benefits and we have secured some champions within the FSA and the committee that advises them, with whom we will maintain a positive relationship.

So, definitely a worthwhile event and further signs that Woven Network is going to be critical if this sector is to succeed in the UK.

Nick

Woven Survey of UK Insects for Food and Feed Researchers – help us build a picture of the sector!

Woven Survey - Featured Image

We are keen to build an accurate and comprehensive picture of the “insects for food and feed” sector in the UK.  This survey is targeted at researchers in the sector and will give us a sense of the key facts.

We will use your responses to build a report for the forthcoming conference in April and to press for the sector to be taken seriously.

Please do take the 10 minutes needed to help us help you!

Woven Researcher Survey

Woven Newsletter No.4 – February 2016

Woven Newsletter - Featured Image

We will be launching Woven Network memberships very soon, as part of our commitment to building a powerful community and strong sector here in the UK.

In the meantime, please take the time to complete one of our surveys, or contact Nick if you have any questions regarding the recent Novel Foods legislation.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

— Harold Stone (Editor)

FSA Novel Foods Workshop

The Food Standards Agency are holding a Novel Foods workshop this week, and we are sending our Managing Director, Nick Rousseau, as delegate.

He will be representing Woven and the UK insects for food and feed sector.

If you have any questions for him to ask on your behalf, please send him an email.

Business Survey & Researcher Survey

We are keen to build an accurate and comprehensive picture of the “insects for food and feed” sector in the UK. These surveys will give us a sense of the key facts.

We will use your responses to build a report for the forthcoming conference in April, and to press for the sector to be taken seriously.

The survey will also help us gauge what you want from Woven Network.

Please do take 10 minutes or so to help us help you!

Business Survey

Researcher Survey

We will of course respect commercial sensitivities.

— Nick Rousseau (Managing Director)

Insects in the News

Last month edible insects were a feature of the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos.

Protix founder, Kees Arts, was invited to participate as as a Technology Pioneer, and presented an interesting analysis of the role of insects in the “circular economy”.

Technology Pioneers like Kees are evaluated by the WEF as being “expected to have a significant impact on business, society and ecology”.

Meanwhile, Google highlighted cricket flour as a rising trend of 2015 (see right).

Cricket Flour on Google

A study on the attitudes of young Italians towards consuming insects concluded that presentation was an important factor. A separate study in the journal of Psychology & Marketing came to essentially the same conclusion.

Some insights into the marketing of edible insects were also provided by Kinetic UK and Ogilvy Change, and discussed in The Guardian.

Their findings suggest that focusing on scarcity and loss aversion (i.e. FOMO – the Fear Of Missing Out) are highly effective.

Stink Bugs - "Thongolifha"

A study from the Nairobi-based International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) confirmed the nutritional importance of “thongolifha”.

Thongolifha (the edible stink bug, Encosternum delegorguei) is popularly consumed across southern Africa.

And lastly, in a thought-provoking article for the Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, Bob Fischer concluded that strict vegans should be eating insects.

Calendar

February 4
Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes Workshop (London)
FSA and ACNFP
details

February 18
Insect Production, Processing and Legislation Workshop (Wageningen)
Hosted by the International Insects Centre. Lecturers will be from Wageningen University and Research Centre, HAS University of Applied Sciences and NGN
details

March 17
New Frontiers in Food and Drink 2016 (London)
Organised by Food Manufacture
details

April 11
Insects as Food and Feed: The Way Forward (Nottingham)
Joint meeting of Woven Network, Royal Entomological Society and the University of Nottingham
details

Image Credits: QuenchSA, Google

Woven Survey of UK Insects for Food and Feed Businesses – help us build a picture of the sector!

Woven Survey - Featured Image

We are keen to build an accurate and comprehensive picture of the “insects for food and feed” sector in the UK.  This survey is targeted at businesses in the sector and will give us a sense of the key facts.

We will use your responses to build a report for the forthcoming conference in April and to press for the sector to be taken seriously.

Please do take the 10 minutes needed to help us help you!

Woven Business Survey

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

Woven Newsletter No.3 – December 2015

Woven Newsletter - Featured Image

It has been another busy year for those involved with edible insects, with major developments in EU regulation and growing interest from consumers, retailers, governments, investors and media. We’ve also had the first World Edible Insect Day, and a spectrum of pioneering insect-based products, both conceptual and consumable.

Please send any contributions for the next newsletter to harold.stone@woven-network.co.uk. Thanks to Peter for all his work on the previous newsletters.

Merry Christmas, and see you in 2016.

— Harold Stone (Editor)

Call for Abstracts

Our conference, “Insects as Food and Feed: The Way Forward”, is seeking contributions.

The conference is co-hosted with the Royal Entomological Society and the University of Nottingham, and is calling for contributions that present ideas and data about the solutions or ways forward to current problems.

Contributions are invited from those working across the diverse areas related to insects as food and feed: the social and natural sciences, commercial organisations, those in legal or policy-oriented roles, and other related fields.

The conference aims to reflect the highly interdisciplinary nature of the area.

Potential participants are invited to submit a proposal for either a 15 minute oral presentation (with 5 minutes for questions) or for a poster presentation, to address the central theme of the conference: what is the way forward for insects as food and feed? What innovative solutions can you propose? Do you have evidence so far of how a particular approach is working well? What can your particular take on the subject offer to help move the debate forward?

To submit a proposal, please follow the link below:

woven-network.co.uk/event/woven-network-launch-insects-as-food-and-feed-the-way-forward

Deadline for submissions is 26 February.

Insects in the News

IKEA’s innovation lab created a Crispy Bug Ball (pictured right) as part of their Tomorrow’s Meatball project.

They join a growing number of retailers showing interest in edible insects, others including Wahaca and Selfridges.

Whole Foods Markets will also start selling roasted crickets early next year.

Howard Buffett, grandson of famed investor Warren Buffet, has co-founded i(x) investments with Trevor Neilson. Their plan is to invest “in early-stage and undervalued companies that are working on issues such as sustainable agriculture”. Accordingly, they are already investing in cricket farming.

Mealworm meatball

The fourth issue of Journal of Insects as Food and Feed has been published. Among the articles is an interesting review of the terminology surrounding “entomophagy”, co-written by the Nordic Food Lab team. Read it here.

Critter Bitters

There has also been a range of successful crowdfunding campaigns, with Eat Grub and JIMINIS both joining the market of cricket flour energy bars.

A pair of New York designers have also created Critter Bitters (pictured), cocktail bitters made with toasted crickets.

Johanna Kelly and Cameron Marshad’s documentary film The Gateway Bughas been successfully funded. The film will focus on the US edible insect industry, and should be released around March next year. Watch the trailer here.

LIVIN Farms launched their pioneering kitchen mealworm hive. Having quickly exceeded their funding goal, they are looking at donating hives for educational purposes. See more.

Business Survey

Some of you may recall being interviewed by Nick about your insect related business or business idea, and this helped him to build a picture of the emerging sector for the presentation to the Global Food Security Programme group last year.

We aim to update this in time for the April event so we can present a picture of how things have progressed and highlight gaps in the market.

We will be in touch with all the entrepreneurs we know of over the coming months to get a few key facts from you that we can collate for everyone’s benefit.

We will respect commercial sensitivities of course.

— Nick Rousseau (Managing Director)

Past Events

Axon Lawyers held a seminar on 25 November, focusing on the legal aspects of alternative sources of protein. The slides have been made available on slideshare – click here.

The University of Oxford hosted an interdisciplinary workshop on insects as food and feed on 4 December. For those of you who were unable to attend, slides have been made available here.

2016 Events

January
EntoCall #4 (Teleconference)
Date to be confirmed
details

February 18
Insect Production, Processing and Legislation Workshop (Wageningen)
Hosted by the International Insects Centre. Lecturers will be from Wageningen University and Research Centre, HAS University of Applied Sciences and NGN.
details

April 11
Insects as Food and Feed: The Way Forward (Nottingham)
Joint meeting of Woven Network, Royal Entomological Society and the University of Nottingham.
details

Image Credits: Space10, Critter Bitters

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