Foodvalley connects insect supply chain
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Foodvalley connects insect supply chain

  • 21 November 2022
  • By: Janneke Vermeulen

Insects can play an important role in the circular food system. To make (products from) insects end up on consumers' plates more often, Foodvalley is setting the chain in motion with, among other things, a workshop, as a partner of Network for Insect Knowledge (NIK) and an international insect market scan.

There is no lack of knowledge, legislation already allows quite a lot and insect consumption is on the rise. Yet the insect chain still functions inadequately. Why is that? What is needed for it? And which players are relevant?

Jolijn Zwart - van Kessel, innovation lead circular agrifood at Foodvalley, deals with these questions.

She says: "Insects are able to process residual streams, even mixed waste streams from the catering industry, and then supply proteins to feed and food themselves. In this way, low-value protein becomes a high-value protein source.

Very interesting, but a lot of research, development and legislation is still needed on this topic. From circular agrifood, we give it the necessary catalytic power. We do the same for the topics of upcycling residue streams and regenerative agriculture."

Lower climate pressure

Insects are a valuable alternative source of protein. For example, an adult cricket contains 65% protein; more than beef (23%) and tofu (8%). Moreover, insects can be used as a residual processor just like chicken and pig, only their climate footprint is a lot lower. Their CO2 emissions are much lower and they use much less land and water. Zwart - van Kessel: "Energy consumption is of course still a challenge in the current energy crisis. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't drive development - innovation is about dealing with paradoxes like this." To increase the role of insects in the circular system, WUR is doing a lot of research into the food safety surrounding the use of insects living on residual streams. "For example, it would be very interesting to grow edible insects on manure. Again, that requires legislation allowing that.

Überhaupt, for many Dutch people to eat insects, a mental threshold still needs to be overcome, but I expect that acceptance will grow."

Handy overview

To answer the question of how to get insects on consumers' plates more often, Foodvalley, as a partner in the Network for Insect Knowledge (NIK), is bringing the insect chain together. "Growers, processors, retail and foodservice need to come to the table to make sure we start seeing some insect products on the shelves next year. We also need to get its story in the minds of consumers. To set this in motion, we are organising a workshop inviting these parties to join us. As a partner of the NIK, I would also like to draw readers' attention to various topics around insect farming.

NIK has launched the website On it, parties with the ambition to start working with insects can find everything on the subject: laws and regulations, permits and their locations, information on training courses and events, manuals for cultivating various insects, and a hygiene guide. It also includes a handy overview of all links in the insect chain in the Netherlands and Belgium, including feed companies, government agencies, technology suppliers and the food industry. And of course financiers - money is an essential factor in driving innovation. That is why we are organising a Bioventures Network workshop where startups in circular agrifood can pitch to investors," said Zwart - van Kessel.

Insect scan

To clarify the laws and regulations, Foodvalley, together with its cooperation partners Enterprise Singapore, recently published an international insect market scan. Zwart - Van Kessel: "With this, we look at laws and regulations from an international perspective with contributions from European insect advocacy group IPIFF. We have mapped which legislation currently applies in Europe, which legislation is imminent and which regulations have recently been amended (as, for example, in Singapore). Market developments and -players in Singapore are covered. Since that region also works more with insects, it is a very interesting sales market for European parties and vice versa."

We can learn a lot from experiences and developments abroad, Zwart - van Kessel believes: "In our country, we are still experimenting a lot with breeding and production. And there are pioneers who have already introduced interesting products to the market. Ynsect Netherlands supplies various product processors. De Krekerij is a relatively small club that makes the delicious hopper meatballs from crickets and buffalo shoarma. The products are available through food service parties."


From the hospitality industry, Zwart - van Kessel says there is a blazingly enthusiastic response to the insect products: "That proves that there are real opportunities.

Meat substitutes have also been taking off in recent years; Insect products have everything it takes to become big. We therefore invite all parties who can play a role in this to join in. Together, we will make the chain work."

Want to know more about the possibilities of Insects?

Source: Foto Jolijn: ©James Media; Foto burger: ©De Krekerij; foto meel ©