Industrial Insect Services (Insects for animal feed and other high value products and waste reduction processes)

  • There is considerable global interest in the use of insect protein in animal feed. In the EU insect protein is are currently permitted for use in pet food and aquaculture.
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Industrial Insect Services (Insects for animal feed and other high value products and waste reduction processes)
In the EU insect protein is are currently permitted for use in pet food and aquaculture, and the species of insect that can be used and the organic substrates that they can be reared on are defined. European pet food companies are utilising insect meal, but not from UK insect producers.

Live insects can be fed to poultry, but delivery on a practical scale has not yet been realised European pet food companies are utilising insect meal, but not from UK insect producers. Live insects can be fed to poultry, but delivery on a practical scale has not yet been realised. 

Today's Challenges

The increasing demand for meat and fish products (especially in Asia, expected to see 78% increase in meat & seafood demand from 2017 to 2050 according to Asia Research and Engagement Pte Ltd) puts pressure on our current animal feed protein sources such as soy and fishmeal. This combined this with the limited availability of fertile land means that increased meat production will have considerable impacts on the environment. Primary protein production needs to increase by 50% until 2050 to meet this demand and today 85% of arable land is already in use.


Today's Solutions

Insects are able to recover nutrients from organic residues and bring them back into the food value chain, thereby contributing to a circular economy. Since no fertile land is needed for their production, they are a promising and sustainable new source of protein compared to today’s main alternatives. Some insect species, such as the black soldier fly (BSF), are well-suited for growth on large scale.



Fera leading key research into industrial insect applications

The European Commission recently adopted a Regulation amending the TSE Regulation: Regulation (EU) N° 2017/893 partially uplifting the feed ban rules regarding the use of insect processed animal proteins (PAPs) for aquaculture animals. This new EU legislation was adopted on 24 May 2017 and the authorisation was officially applicable from 1st July 2017. PROteINSECT was an EU funded project led by Fera Science Ltd, with partners across Europe, China & Africa established the feasibility of obtaining high quality & safe insect meal and protein for animal feed from fly larvae reared on organic wastes. ABAgri & Fera Science Ltd conducted a project funded by Innovate UK to investigate the potential of fly larvae as a source of  protein in poultry feed.  Fera is also the Chair of 2018 UK Task + Finish Group on Insect Biomass Conversion.



Download the Industrial Insect Application & Services brochure here

Feasibility of obtaining high quality protein for animal feed from fly larvae reared on organic wastes






By 2050 the global population is estimated to grow by two billion and it is predicted that global meat demand in 2030 will stand at 72% above the 2000 value of 233 million tonnes. The global production of aquaculture products has increased rapidly from about three million tonnes in 1970 to 90 million tonnes in 2012 and it is the fastest growing animal food producing sector in the world. The World Bank expects fish production to grow by over 20% between 2010 and 2030. (PROteINSECT whitepaper 2016).

"Primary protein production needs to increase by 50% until 2050"



Frequently Asked Questions

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About Insect Biomass Conversion Task & Finish Group

  

What is insect biomass conversion?

 

Insect biomass conversion is where organic residue is fed directly to insects, in a process which converts low value biomass into higher value insect mass, rich in protein content, fats and chitin. These can, in turn, be used as sustainable inputs for a variety of sectors, most notably animal feeds such as in aquaculture, poultry and premium pet food markets. The insects are fed on a range of substrates including: plant-based (e.g. Brewery residues), unprocessed former foodstuffs (no meat) and agricultural residues.

 

Why is insect biomass conversion important? 

Insect biomass conversion is where organic residue is fed directly to insects, in a process which converts low value biomass into higher value insect mass, rich in protein content, fats and chitin. These can, in turn, be used as sustainable inputs for a variety of sectors, most notably animal feeds such as in aquaculture, poultry and premium pet food markets. The insects are fed on a range of substrates including: plant-based (e.g. Brewery residues), unprocessed former foodstuffs (no meat) and agricultural residues.

 

Why are insects a good alternative to other sources of protein like soya and fishmeal? 

Key advantages of insects include:

·         Highly efficient in the rapid conversion of organic “wastes” into ‘valorised’ biomass

·         A natural component of the diets of avian and carnivorous fish

·         Insect protein can offer higher digestibility than vegetable-based proteins

·         Land use requirements vastly lower as compared to crop sourced protein

·         The insects deployed do not carry human or livestock diseases and do not present an invasive species risk

  

What potential does the insect biomass conversion industry have for the UK?

Insect biomass conversion, at scale, for the production of protein for animal feed and associated bi-products for UK agriculture and other industries has the potential to establish a new sustainable and ‘clean growth’ industry with total annual revenues approaching £1.0bn within 5 years plus substantial additional growth from the export of new, internationally traded, commodities by the establishment and operation of Insect Bio-Reactors (IBRs) nationwide.

Additionally, it will:

·         Enhance value of Agrifood residues and other waste streams

·         Reduce heavy reliance upon protein imports (fishmeal & soya meal)- £1.9 billion p.a. (2015) and therefore increase UK food production security by providing some protection against future volatility in commodity feed prices

·         Provide a new and more sustainable source of protein to the compound feed sector (annual production 15.7 million tonnes; a £3.63 billion market value)

·         Provide a new and more sustainable source of protein for the pet food sector

·         Reduce UK aquaculture industry’s reliance on fishmeal and existing use of plant-based alternatives (fishmeal currently represents c. 20% of salmon diet composition); insect/BSF meal can replace >50% of fishmeal in farmed fish diets

·         Potentially produce sustainably sourced new feedstock materials (e.g. Chitosan for biodegradable packaging) and superior quality soil nutrients

 

What is the significance of the UK food industry to the country’s economy? 

The UK food industry from farm to fork is of fundamental importance to the UK economy, the sustainability of the food system and the health of the nation.

·         The food and drink sector generates £121 billion of value for the economy each year

·         Employs 4 million people 

·         In 2017, food and drink exports were worth more than £22 billion of UK exports

·         Farmers have 10,000 football pitches worth of wild flowers, creating homes for bees and food for birds and insects.

·         British farms produce 61% of the nation's food

·         There are around 270,000 hectares managed voluntarily under the Campaign for the Farmed Environment

  

What is the Insect Biomass Conversion Task & Finish Group (IBCTFG)?

The IBCTFG is committed to helping deliver insect production at scale in the UK. It is one of the Task & Finish Groups set up under the Agricultural Productivity Working Group (APWG) to tackle priority issues that address transforming UK agri-food productivity. The APWG acted under the direction of the Food and Drink Sector Council (FDSC) whose remit is to recommend how the UK can improve the productivity and sustainability for the entire farm to fork food chain, covering farming, manufacturing, retail, hospitality and logistics and to respond on behalf of the UK Agri-Food sector to the UK’s Industrial Strategy published by BEIS in January 2018. 

 

Which organisations are in the IBCTFG?? 

The Insect Biomass Task & Finish Group represents key stakeholders across the Insect Biomass value chain and are committed to collaborating in order to deliver insect production at scale in the UK. The group members are: Fera Science Limited (lead), Durham University, Entomics, Anpario, AgriProtein, UK FPPA, Zero Waste Scotland, (York, North Yorks, East Riding) LEP, British Poultry Council, Tesco, McDonalds, PFMA, NFU, Entocycle, CIEL, Humphrey Feeds & Pullets, AIC, NPA, Minerva, Multibox, Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre and Beta Bugs.


What are the recommendations of the IBCTFG?

1. The UK Government to issue a national statement of support for this innovative and emerging technology with significant potential impact for the UK economy and its sustainable agricultural productivity.

2. Government and industry to support a central body to bring all stakeholders together to achieve aligned, rapid development of the sector for the UK and render it world leading inside the requisite national infrastructure.

3. Government to collaborate with private industry to secure dedicated funds to help insect producers reach the market, achieve cost competitiveness, respond to the identified research and process development gaps (for example in livestock welfare) and to open up new lines of commercial opportunity (for example for soil health).

4. For the Government to lead on delivering insect biomass legislation and regulation in line with latest science, global market developments and which acknowledges the sustainable, natural and local credentials of insect protein for the food and feed chain and waste valorisation as a critical ‘clean growth’ dimension of a circular economy. 

5. Government to devise and provide short term fiscal incentives for discounting domestically produced insect protein costs for early adopters/ innovators to incentivise the UK animal feed industry to introduce insect-based protein as part of its feed strategies so as to help insect producers achieve cost competitiveness during the period of ramp up of scale.

Any recommendations presented herein are of the Group to the APWG and not of the FDSC itself.

  

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