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How insect protein could be the key to a sustainable global food system

4 min read
Closeup of man eating spaghetti with crispy worms

With constant reminders about the climate crisis, and a constantly growing global population, the food industry is constantly looking for innovations that have the potential to make our food systems more sustainable – and one of these avenues is insect protein. 

Insect protein has been eaten across the world for thousands of years by myriad cultures, but broaching the subject in the West seems to be rather taboo. How can we normalise the regular consumption of insect protein across the world without destroying the planet along the way? 

These are the important topics we discuss in our insect protein podcasts. We discuss with those generating world-leading research and innovations across the food industry, making way for insect protein to become a sustainable source of protein worldwide.

Will insect farming fix our dysfunctional food system?

insect farm

Our global food production systems are dysfunctional.

Traditional farming uses 77% of agricultural land, but only provides 18% of the world’s calories – does that not sound unsustainable to you? This raises the question of “how will we feed our ever-growing global population?”

In addition to unsustainable food production, the systems in place are fairly unsustainable too as 69% of the EU’s protein-rich feed, such as soya, is imported. These are the issues which are contributing to the growing climate crisis – but how can we tackle this? How do we make our dysfunctional food systems more sustainable? How can we feed the world without making it uninhabitable in the process? 

The answer lies with insect protein. 

1kg of insect protein uses 99.4% less land than producing 1 kg of soy protein, the main ingredient in many animal feed brands – and this is a huge difference. With this fact alone, could insect protein farming be the catalyst for a more sustainable food production system in the future of the UK? 

In this podcast, we speak to Keiran Whitaker, Founder and Director of Entocycle, about how the farming of insect protein could be the key to a more sustainable food future and what the potential benefits are to crops and livestock that come from the harvesting of insect protein.

What do insect protein, next-gen dairy alternatives, e-sports nutrition and umami have in common?


Some of the world’s largest ingredients companies are the leaders in developing the latest in food and drink innovations that are designed to feed the future. 

So, what are these innovations, and how can they achieve this lofty goal? 

This episode of our Food Futures podcast looks back at our discussions with Cargill, Gelita, Givaudan and Ÿnsect, reflecting on the products they’re developing which are designed to support consumer trends through insect protein. And it’s not just insect protein they’re working on, other consumer trends include e-sports nutrition supporting supplements, umami flavours, and dairy alternatives. 

Stefan Gates discusses with Antoine Hubert, Chairman & CEO of Ÿnsect, Franziska Dolle from Gelita, Nicole Oelhafen, Senior Project Manager for Consumer Sensory Insights EAME at Givaudan, and Matthias Bourdeau, Marketing Manager Texturizers, Cargill Starches, Sweeteners and Texturizers Europe about how insect protein could be the future of nutrition. 

This includes topics like insect protein being the future of sports nutrition, how esports athletes are gaining their edge through supplements, how the power of umami can be harnessed to improve flavour in our favourite dishes, and what challenges need to be overcome to expand the world of dairy alternatives.

Insects for dinner: do we have a duty of care?

mouth about to eat a cricket

What is an insect, and do they have feelings? 

Insects are touted as a food source with abundant levels of protein but, just because they can be eaten, should we be considering whether we should in the first place? Should we be thinking seriously about how we farm insect protein if we mean to continue harvesting insect protein? 

This episode of the Table Talk podcast explores one of the biggest questions when it comes to insect protein – is it morally better to feed many people with the meat from a large cow, or kill thousands of worms to feed the same number of people? 

Stefan Gates is joined by Adam Hart, Professor of Science Communication at the University of Gloucestershire to discuss this very question, plus additional ethical issues that surround using insect protein as a source of nutrition as we go into the future.


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