The population keeps increasing. According to the journal "the Lancet", the world population could reach 9.7 billion people by 2050. To meet the nutritional needs of this population, current food production will have to double.
Depending on geographic and cultural origins, insects appear in menus like any other source of protein. Raising insects, called entomoculture, is an emerging sector that may have a great future. This international movement has been in place for more than 10 years.
Eating insects , also known as entomophagy , dates back to the dawn of humanity. Indeed, insects have carved out a place of pride for themselves in the culinary traditions and gastronomic culture of many countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
This technique turns out to be an effective and promising solution for the future of man. Its strengths are multiple:
- Scientists: for companies that produce insecticides or to know the influence of GMOs.
- Medical: maggots to clean wounds, larvae to estimate the time of death of an individual in forensic medicine.
- Agricultural: to trap pests (aphids and mites) to replace chemicals,
- Commercial and economic: production and sale of dehydrated mealworms, also called mealworms. It allows the creation of new jobs and promotes the reduction of food waste,
- Animal or human food: in nutritional terms it is a very good source of proteins, minerals, and vitamins.
- Ecological:: recovery of organic waste from natural plant or animal resources, called bio-waste.
- Environmental: Little space, little water, little food, less pollution, less waste.
With a reduced overall impact (land, water, CO2), entomoculture is considered a real feat of sustainable economy.
According to the FAO (the United Nations Food Organization), beyond eco-responsible farming, the consumption of insect-based proteins for humans and animals will be the food of tomorrow. The obvious reason is the gain in space and resources necessary for these farms.
The use of the agricultural land necessary for the breeding of cattle, sheep, pigs, poultry, is fraught with consequences. Heavy in terms of spaces for animals, cultivable land, water, pollution, deforestation, transport, electricity, etc.
Still according to the FAO, raising mealworms, crickets and locusts produces a hundred times less greenhouse gases than that of pork and beef. And the protein content of insects compares favorably with that of beef.
This is the reason why the consumption of proteins of animal origin (meat) must decrease in favor of other sources of protein.
In recent years, in terms of food, entomoculture has appeared in Western countries due to this agro-food transition.
Very rich in proteins (about 50 to 80% of the dry matter) and in energy (20 to 30% of lipids), insects are considered as a credible alternative.
For farm animals, such as pigs and chickens, but also and especially in aquaculture (75% of the potential market for insects), insects could replace part of the "forage fish", which will reduce overfishing and leave more of food to wild fish.
In addition, insects make good use of plant products that are wasted or cannot be consumed by humans (food residues).
Their digestates can be recycled into organic fertilizers.
More than 2000 species are consumed in Africa, Asia or Latin America, but only about thirty are studied as potential food for humans and seven species are authorized by the European Union as animal feed.
Do you know the black soldier fly?
It is a fly native to the American continent which has become acclimatized on all continents. Its presence is associated with that of decomposing organic matter: livestock areas, slurry, manure, latrines, compost.
Thanks to its fertility and its ability to recycle waste, it is the subject of biotechnology projects for the production of proteins and lipids intended for animal and human consumption.
Its breeding requires little water for the production of its very greedy larvae. Called Hermetia Illucens , they are able to eat 10 times their own weight per day of organic waste and convert it into protein. The latter would be intended for aquaculture, farm animals but also petfood, namely food for pets.
The advantage of such production is that it is carried out on a very small surface compared to traditional breeding for meat production. In addition, insects produce very little greenhouse gas (GHG).
Turn a fly into food!
The breeding of the Black Soldier Fly is booming in the world. Black Soldier fly larvae are harvested before their last moults, and used as a source of nutrients.
In fact, in Canada, the CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) has approved the use of whole dried insect larvae in broiler chicken feed and up to 10% in salmonid fish feed.
The European Union, since July 1, 2017, in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2017/893 of May 24, 2017, authorizes the use of proteins from 7 species of insects (2 species of soldier fly, 2 others of mealworm and 3 cricket) to feed fish from fish farming and aquaculture.
A valuation, not very inviting ...
What might seem rewarding on one side could be open to questioning on the other. Indeed, the discovery of these organic waste-eating larvae is a boon for professionals in the waste sector. Farms are hatching all over the world. In Asia, the United States, South Africa, Kenya and Europe, projects to build an entomoculture unit are emerging.
Every year in the world, food waste represents about 1.3 billion tons. This organic waste rots and emits GHGs like methane. The larvae of black soldier flies have a bright future ahead of them. When they are stuffed with waste, they are dried, crushed, and transformed into flour for feeding farm animals and fish, which in turn end up on our plates.
Insects in human food.
Cricket flour and mealworm larvae called mealworms have been used in human food for several years. Used for certain protein bars intended for athletes, for the dough of pancakes and even for flouring fish. Since 2017, the Finnish food group Fazer has been marketing an insect bread made from cricket flour (3%) added to wheat and seeds ...
These insect meals are considered a healthy and nutritious food, which would also provide protein, Omega-3 and fiber.
According to IPIFF (European Professional Union of Insect Producers ), insects can be boiled, fried, dried or smoked, and reduced to powder or flour to be incorporated into pasta, nutritional bars, cookies, or even crisps. , etc. Insect-based products (rich in protein, minerals, vitamins, fiber, but also healthy fatty acids, omega 6 and 3) can help prevent nutrient deficiencies, and livestock has a limited ecological footprint compared to other sources of protein, says the organization.
Provided they are fed by plants without pesticides or antibiotics, insects are already the dish of tomorrow. This new sector has the advantage of maintaining very short production circuits and locating new jobs.
France has become a pioneer in insect breeding and the largest insect farm in the world will settle near Amiens. This French start-up YNSECT should go into production at the end of 2021 to breed worms to produce protein foods and fertilizers. The objective of YNSECT is to install around fifteen factories by 2030 in Europe, Asia and North America
Other companies are developing around the world:
InnovaFeed, NextAlim, Mutatec, Entomo Farm or Agronutris. But still Micronutris, World Ento, Jimini's, Six Food, AgriProtein, Protix, Wilder Harrier Wilder Harrier
The issue of rehabilitating insect consumption in Western countries is therefore on the table because of the nutritional, economic and ecological issues it involves. We are going to have to accept this new food if we want to be able to feed the whole earth.
Enjoy your meal ....