Insects – a food innovation – and revolution?
7th June 2017

Food glorious food

What did you have for breakfast this morning? Your days of egg and bacon may be numbered! Muesli, fruit and yogurt may become a ‘treat’ reserved for special occasions. Even porridge may be off the menu in the next few years. The food we eat in the future is likely to be very different – and it’s all down to man-made climate change, living longer, and a lot of children! Our changing climate is going to make it much harder to ‘grow’ food in the future and there will be too many people to feed. Put simply we have a major food security problem. Eating insects could be the answer. This has the potential to be the next big innovation in helping to alleviate global food insecurity.

How can food production be ‘insecure’?

The United Nations warns that in order to feed the 9 billion global population of 2050, food production will have to double. This is unrealistic. Within existing food and agricultural policies and practices repeated and urgent warnings stress the nutrition needs of the world’s population will not be satisfied. Climate change increases pests and diseases. Temperamental weather systems trigger droughts and flooding. Current livestock production is already unsustainable: it uses excessive quantities of natural resources in its production, most notably 70% of fresh water usage. Consequently producing 1 kg of beef requires approximately 22,000 litres of water. It is also the second largest contributor to rising global temperatures and emits a lot of greenhouse gases. And, there will not be enough water in the future either – so food production really is going to be very challenging.

Insects – a food innovation – and revolution?

In response new innovations to produce food – sustainably – in the future are being sought. First proposed in the 1970’s, attention is increasing on the feasibility of insects for human consumption - namely entomophagy. Producing insects entails negligible use of natural resources like water and land and their ecological impact is virtually zero, particularly if they can be locally produced. Besides the eco-arguments, insects are highly nutritious, being rich in protein, omega 3 & 6, vitamins and minerals. Persuading consumers to buy insect-based foods and insects, however, might require a revolution!

So why are we at Venturefest 2017?

We comprise two academics and a Brookes Graduate Entrepreneur working on how acceptance of eating-insects might be increased. Our Entrepreneur has created some insect-based ‘treats’ for you to try and we also have actual edible insects too. Please do come and sample some of these ‘delights’ – you might be quite surprised. And of course we would love to share thoughts on how this innovation can be successfully progressed in the not too distant future. You never know, this idea might have legs, or wings , or…

About the author

Oxford Brookes University
Janine‰Ûªs academic research examines complex consumer behaviour that is problematic, poorly understood or undergoing significant change.

Latest news

The future of Venturefest

The future of Venturefest

After 23 years of successful operation, Venturefest Oxford is entering a new era. READ MORE

Research, industry, and AGI

Research, industry, and AGI

A transfer of knowledge to industry is a good thing:  One purpose of a university is to benefit society by disseminating knowledge, and one way this can be done is by commercialising research. Universities and research institutions are a dynamo for entrepreneurship, and for innovation in large companies. READ MORE

For success in product development – start at square zero

For success in product development – start at square zero

When it comes to the commercial success of a technology-led product, there are a number of factors that come into play along the development journey. Have the regulatory requirements been met? Can the design be produced at a viable cost? Is it possible to ensure the quality of the manufacturing process? The list goes on. READ MORE

Make connections that lead to new investments, new businesses and new ideas in the high-tech sector in Oxfordshire.