Ÿnsect has been given the green light from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for the use of the lesser mealworm (Alphitobius diaperinus) for human consumption.
The next step is endorsement by the EU Member States, final authorisation for market approval by the European Commission, and a further roll out to new markets, specifically the US.
“Insects [are] not only a solution for better human health but more a holistic solution for plants, soil, animals and humans,” Guillaume Daoulas, VP of Business Development for Ÿnsect, told BakeryandSnacks.
While insects have been eaten for centuries around the world, what Ÿnsect does is different, scaling up production and taking the best from the insect to “address a solution from farm to fork with no waste. This is where Ÿnsect tackles one of the biggest challenges of the next decades … by reinventing the food chain for consumers for health and for the environment.”
In a survey commissioned by Ÿnsect and conducted by OnePoll in April, 51% of Brits revealed a willingness to consume insects once the environmental and health benefits had been explained. Moreover, 89% of the 2,149 UK adults surveyed who had already eaten insects or insect protein said they liked what they ate or would eat insects again.
The global leader in insect farming, Ÿnsect has filed around 350 patents to revolutionise the cultivation of mealworms, transforming them into proteins for domestic animals, fish and livestock, plants and humans.
Ÿnsect Netherlands – formerly Protifarm – submitted the application to EFSA with a view to expanding its activities in Europe, in line with the EU’s sustainability goals, and has the infrastructure in place to expand production and distribution immediately once the European Commission’s green light is given.
“It’s also a very good step before going to the US and Canada, which is also very interesting for us.”
Ÿnsect Human Nutrition & Health already sells AdalbaPro-branded ingredients using the lesser mealworm that can be found in a variety of products across Europe, including cereal bars, shakes and gourmet burgers.
Daoulas told us everything is backed up by research.
In fact, the Maastricht University has recently proven for the first time that insect protein is as beneficial as the ‘gold standard’ milk protein; both containing all nine essential amino acids that have the same performance on digestion, absorption and on the ability to stimulate muscle production.
The study – published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in May 2021 – cements mealworm-derived protein as a premium and high-value ingredient.
Combined with sustainability arguments, this cements mealworm-derived protein as a premium and high-value alternative for health-driven consumers.
Interestingly, Daoulas also explained that mealworms also fit into a vegetarian lifestyle, nodding to the fact that the critters have a much lower carbon impact than animals (often a factor in deciding to adopt the vegetarian lifestyle).
Compared to traditional livestock, Ÿnsect uses 98% less land while significantly reducing the carbon and biodiversity footprints of protein production. Additionally, insects require a 1:9 ratio of feed versus beef to produce 1kg of protein.
Added Antoine Hubert, CEO and cofounder of Ÿnsect, “The recent assessment by EFSA that lesser mealworms are safe for human consumption is a significant step forward for the company’s expansion.
“Mealworm protein offers the best of both worlds, as nutritionally beneficial as animal protein, but with a much lower environmental impact.
“Indeed, the scientific community is increasingly rallying around the idea, with a 2022 report by the University of Helsinki suggesting that a diet incorporating large amounts of insect protein offers the optimum solution to reduce environmental impact by over 80% while offering high nutritional benefits to the consumer.”
Listen to our conversation with Daoulas to find out how insects can add a carbon-friendly and clean label twist to bakery and snacks.
Authors: Wesley JH Hermans, Jan M Senden, Tyler A Churchward-Venne, et al
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 114, Issue 3, September 2021, Pages 934-944
Founded in 2011 by scientists and environmental activists, Next40 and B Corp-certified, Ÿnsect processes insects into high-end ingredients to accelerate protein and plant consumption.
The Paris-headquartered company uses disruptive technology protected by 350 patents from 41 families to raise its Buffalo and Molitor mealworms in highly automated vertical farms, creating value chains fully aligned with the Paris COP21 Agreement +1,5°C scenario, and then with the EU Fit for 55 target.
A new production site in Amiens, France, is tipped to be the world’s largest vertical farm and expands Ÿnsect growing estate, with sites in Dole, France, Ermelo, Netherlands, and Nebraska, US. The company employs more than 300 people and has raised around $450m in funding to get its products market ready.