The preliminary green light given by EFSA on Monday 4 July for mealworms for human consumption, for Alphitobius diaperinus, is a further step towards a greater consumption of insect proteins that are good for health and the environment. That is the opinion of the insect breeder Insect. In the Netherlands, this company already grows insects using horticultural techniques. The commercialization of the company’s insect products can now be accelerated in the European market.
47% of Dutch people are willing to eat foods based on insect proteins
The health crisis has made Dutch people think about how and what they eat: just over a third (33%) say the pandemic has not changed their eating habits. Almost half of Dutch people (47%) say they have started eating healthier (40%) or much healthier (7%). And 48% say they will now follow a more environmentally friendly diet. It shows a recent survey conducted by One Poll.
Ÿnsect examined the Dutch perception of insect-based foods. A clear conclusion: the Dutch are very open to the idea of eating more insects. 1 in 5 Dutch people (21%) have already eaten insects or insect-based foods. Among young men, this proportion becomes almost 1 in 3 (30% of men between 18 and 24 years). Most of them have already eaten insects, usually during a vacation in Thailand, China, Japan or Mexico, where it is very common to eat insects. Of those who have already eaten insects, 33% say they have enjoyed them and would like to do so again.
When explaining the environmental, health and nutritional benefits, 47% of Dutch people say they are willing to eat food based on insect proteins. Men are particularly motivated: 52% say they want to switch to insect-based foods.
The Dutch want more insect-based foods
The Dutch are big proponents of the development of food based on insect proteins. In fact, 53% of respondents believe that the government should include insect-based foods in their health and nutrition advice.
In addition, 80% of Dutch respondents believe that food producers should include more insect proteins in their products. 51% of the respondents, however, make it a condition that this must be clearly stated on the packaging. Again, men are the most enthusiastic (84% of men).
The EFSA Communication means that Alphitobius diaperinus will be the fourth insect to receive a positive assessment for consumption from the European Food Safety Authority.
This mealworm species is already grown and processed in the vertical farm Ÿnsect Nederland (Ermelo), which makes Ÿnsect ready to accelerate the commercialization of its products in new European markets.
In some European markets, insect proteins are already present in hamburgers (Zirp), cereal bars (Isaac, Zirp) and protein drinks (Flin, Isaac, Becrit, Row).
“Proteins that are better for humans and the planet”
The benefits of insect protein-based foods are many, as Antoine Hubert, CEO and co-founder of Ÿnsect, says: “Our company was born out of the will to combat climate change with concrete solutions. Insect proteins that are easily pulverized in many processable products, are healthier than vegetable proteins and more environmentally friendly than animal proteins. “
“EFSA’s recent assessment that Alphitobius diaperinus is safe for human consumption is an important step forward in the expansion of our business,” said Antoine Hubert, CEO and co-founder of Ÿnsect. “Target worm protein offers the best of both worlds. It is just as nutritious as animal protein, but with a much lower impact on the environment and much more readily available in the last few years. In light of the latest IPCC report and the urgency of seizing globally, insects will undoubtedly be one of the solutions to achieve the Paris climate goals.A recent study from the University of Helsinki showed that when switching from a diet rich in meat and dairy products to a diet rich in ‘new’ foods such as algae, insects, farmed meat and mycoproteins, the impact of food production on the environment can be reduced by more than 80%. “
Ÿnsect got OnePoll to conduct the poll from April 1 to 7 among a representative group of Dutch adults in 2017.
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