Foodvalley launches new insects programme
On its mission to accelerate the sustainability of the food system, Foodvalley NL initiates a new programme around the ‘raw material’ insects. These small species in our food chain are not only a source of proteins, but they also process our residual flows. As of June 1, Paula Rijkens has been appointed as Programme Manager Insects. “We are going to put the insect sector on the map with a positive image.”
To provide a worldwide population of ten billion people by 2050 with tasty, affordable, healthy and sustainable food, we need to adopt a circular production and consumption system. “There is a pressing need to create more value across the whole food production chain, so we have to use less raw materials and energy and should produce less waste,” explains Paula.
A sustainable alternative
With the Insects Programme, Foodvalley NL is going to support a young, innovative and promising sector to make its 2050 mission a success. “Insects can play an important role in a sustainable food system for three reasons,” she believes. “First of all, insects use waste streams that other animals and humans cannot eat. Residual flows are thus usefully used. Secondly, insects are a sustainable replacement for soy - which has to be imported from South America - and fish meal - for which fish must be grown in an unsustainable way. Finally, insects have specific properties that are of great added value for animals and humans, such as proteins and lipids that contain a lot of omega 3."
The added value of insects is clear and the sector is on the cusp of explosive growth. Before it can be deployed, according to Paula, there are three important hurdles to overcome. “The production is not yet large enough, which means that, for example, producers of pet food cannot yet switch to insects as a protein basis. Producers, on the other hand, have difficulty finding a suitable market. Last but not least, there is still little regulation and it is still prohibited to use household, catering and supermarket waste as a breeding ground.”
Promising sector on the map
Foodvalley NL is therefore currently making an inventory of which solutions are already available – nationally and internationally. “We also formulate exactly what we want to achieve,” says Paula. “We then make the gaps concrete in this roadmap, so that we can connect the right companies, organizations and possibly investors to take the next step.” As the former Innovation Lead Circular Agrifood at Foodvalley, Paula knows the playing field like the back of her hand, which helps enormously in shaping the plans and involving relevant partners.
Foodvalley NL as an independent partner
An important partner, for example, is Protix. This largest insect farm in the world is based in the Netherlands. For more than ten years, they have been bringing the food system back into balance with high-tech solutions, artificial intelligence, genetic improvement programs and robotics. CEO Kees Aarts is happy with the Insects Programme. “Our products are available in 13 countries, but to create real growth, we need all kinds of parties to collaborate. Foodvalley NL is an independent partner that can connect us to the various stakeholders and keep the pace to help this young sector grow.”
With the new Insects Programme, Foodvalley is calling on all its members and new players in the feed and food industry to think along, talk and participate. Paula is enthusiastic and driven: “Together with companies, governments, investors and technology partners, we want to build strong and successful chains that will turn the Netherlands into insect land. That way, we strive for a known and recognized insect sector - with feed and food products - that contributes to the sustainability of our food system.”
These partners and members have already joined. Will you join us?
- HIK (HUB for Insect knowledge)
- Insect Systems
More info & sign up
Join us and become part of the future of food. All organisations, from start-up to multinational, are welcome to participate in the new Insects Programme. Get in touch with Paula Rijkens (Programme Manager Insects) for more information.
Programme manager Insects
+31 6 215 262 04