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Insects: Food Fad or New Industry?

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Edible Insects: Moving Beyond Sensationalism to Industrialization
Session 051
Monday, July 18, 12:30–2:00 p.m.
Room S402ab

Various start-up companies offering novel insect-based foods and ingredients have entered the market in recent years, promising a source of high-quality animal protein with a substantially lower ecological footprint than vertebrate livestock. Is this a fad or can it move up to a full-scale industry?

Ongoing research is leading to a better understanding of the opportunities in the edible insect industry, with many insects containing very high amounts of protein with complete amino acid profiles, as well as unique functionality and nutritional benefits. Insect production offers the potential for significant reduction in resources required to produce safe, affordable, and highly acceptable foods and ingredients in response to global concerns over the need for food with a minimal ecological footprint.

CricketJodi Williams with the USDA/NIFA will discuss funding opportunities for insect entrepreneurs through the USDA’s Small Business Innovation Research Grant Program. William Kerr with the Univ. of Georgia will explore the functionality and rheology of protein from different insect species. Aaron Dossey with All Things Bugs will examine the issues of ingredient sourcing and supply. George A. Cavender with the Univ. of Nebraska will discuss unique functional ingredients from insects, such as designer fibers, proteins, phospholipids, enzymes, and other active components.

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