Insect Valley Europe, as the beating heart of the European Insect Cultivation – Interview with Eric Michels, CJ Wildbird Foods

Insect Valley Europe, as the beating heart of the European Insect Cultivation – Interview with Eric Michels, CJ Wildbird Foods/ Vivara

This will be presented by Eric Michels, CJ Wildbird Foods Ltd. / Vivara at the Healthy Nutrition Conference, which takes place on June 29th, 2017, at Villa Flora, Venlo, Netherlands.

Eric Michels studied Agricultural Engineering and has a Master’s degree in Business Administration. He worked as a General Manager in the feed mill industry. Nowadays he works as a Business Developer in the Insect Business.

There are very concrete and advanced plans to realize an ‘Insect Valley Europe’ at Greenport Venlo. This is an open and innovative collaboration platform between various triple helix partners (governments, businesses and research and education institutions). Will this be the future beating heart of European insect cultivation to start up the flywheel and boost the insect industry? CJ Wildbird Foods Ltd. / Vivara has become a leading specialist in the development and sale of products for small wildlife (mostly wild birds). The main USP is the exclusive relationship, with many nature conservation associations at home and abroad, which millions of members represent. They are mainly active in the European market (10 countries) which grows autonomously annually. The relationships with green partners, product diversity and infrastructure in B2B and B2C markets give CJ Wildbird Foods Ltd. / Vivara a strong position in this niche market.


The Insect Protein Innovation Platform (IPIP) is a collaboration, between local and regional government in the Dutch province of Limburg with the Triple Helix, to stimulate innovation in insect protein as a sustainable alternative to livestock, fish and vegetable proteins. The region is ideally suited to boasting expertise in the three areas essential to developing, sustaining and transporting innovations in food and feed. “For us the developments at Villa Flora present us with an ideal showcase. We need the wheel to start spinning. Some companies are pulling the idea and others will be pushing. This way we have a perfect business case generator for the insect business,” according to Michels. The insect breeding business has its own challenges like acclimatising, enlargement of the business and reconditioning of the market.

Large market

Insects such as the black soldier fly and the mealworm have a high protein content, can be reared easily and can feed on food and other waste. The insects can be produced whole, in parts, or ground up into flour for human, poultry, livestock or per consumption. Some insects also contain substances that may be extracted for pharmaceutical or medicinal purposes. “There are about 6 million insects in the world, animals on six or more legs. Only 1 million are known to us. 80% of the world’s population eat insects, except in North America and Europe, but given time they will eat them as well. Any way we eat about half a kilo of insects every year, which fly into your mouth when you sleep or insects in vegetables or canned food. With the pressure mounting on natural resources due to the ever increasing population there is a growing demand for protein. The reliance on feed crops from outside Europe, are just some of the reasons to consider sustainable, alternative protein sources. . On top of that, insects efficiently convert feed to protein, reproduce quickly, are easily transported and require less space than regular livestock. With the developments here in Venlo, we are convinced of the potential of insects,” concludes Michels.

For more information and registration to the Healthy Nutrition Conference, we invite you to visit

The interview was made by Jakajima, the organiser of the conference. For more interviews with speakers at Jakajima conferences, we invite you to visit Jakajima’s website

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