Plant protein structuring towards meat-analogues: new developments and challenges

by Ariette Matser, Senior researcher Food Processing Technology, Wageningen Food & Biobased Research

The high and increasing consumption of products from animal origin is one of the key factors causing current routes for food production to be insufficiently efficient to feed the growing, and more affluent world population. Meat production is inefficient with respect to the use of land, water and raw materials.

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Insects as an alternative food protein source


Insects as an alternative food protein source

In 2013 the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization stressed that a new approach to food production was crucial if we are to avoid future shortages. Their suggestion was edible insects. It is their sustainability credentials that has lead the UN to highlight insects as the potential future of food, requiring minimal resources to farm and producing substantially less waste than conventional livestock. “A protein shortage is expected in 2050, and we need to find alternative protein sources,” said Catriona Lakemond, associate professor Food Quality and Design Group, Wageningen University.

Around 2 billion people around the world already consume insects as part of their regular diet due to their high nutritional value, versatility and flavor. “In Zimbabwe, over 80% of the population eats insects,” said Lakemond. “Why? Because they like the taste and the nutritional properties.” Insects are a sustainable source of nutrition. “The protein content of the yellow mealworm is comparable to meat and fish.” Eric Michels, Project lead Insects, Vivara/CJ Wildbird Foods ltd. Agrees: “In addition, insects are ver efficient, with 10kg of feed, we can produce 9kg of locusts, compared to 1 kg of beef. Insects produce less waste, less manure and less greenhouse gas.” Continue reading “Insects as an alternative food protein source”