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Edible insects: Investing in your future

New scientific research has led to a pioneering state of the art research centre being opened by FERA to help research insects as food.

The first ever UK specialist insect laboratory has opened in York, at FERA’s biotech campus. This £1million facility will conduct research on bioconservation with aims of producing groundbreaking results to help facilitate a more sustainable future.

Dr Geoffrey Knott, HOP’s Managing Director & Co-Founder said, “FERA’s investment in a brand new, state-of-the-art research centre demonstrates the world-leading work we’re doing in the UK, and our confidence for insects to help deliver low-emission, high-quality, ethical and secure food.”

In this outstanding feat of research, FERA said, “this expert research and development (R&D) facility will support the rapid growth of insect bioconversion to upcycle biomass residues into valorised products. Fera’s R&D services will help a variety of industries to evaluate the feasibility and scale up processes by which they can best adopt the technology….Fera has led insect bioconversion R&D in the UK and EU for the past 10 years. The laboratory, which is the first of its kind in the UK and one of the first in Europe, enables Fera to help meet the needs of global clients from across the food industry by expanding the scope and scale of its current insect services to ‘twin’ the process of insect bioconversion at factory production scale.”

With such incredible research underway, Dr Andrew Swift, Chief Executive Officer at Fera Science said “Today’s launch of our specialist insect laboratory is an important step in the delivery of expert support from Fera to help the food production industry and its stakeholders, in both the commercial and public sector, to respond to the opportunity this technology presents…The rising pressure to meet consumption for the growing population globally estimates that more than 250 million metric tonnes of additional protein will be needed per year in the decades ahead. This puts immense pressure on our current animal feed protein sources such as soy and fishmeal which are derived from unsustainable sources. Insect bioconversion presents one route to provide sustainably sourced protein into the food chain to help overcome this challenge. Under a circular economy, this technology can reduce biomass waste through consumption and conversion into high quality protein for animal feed as well as other bi-products of high value to food production."

With the laboratory projecting the way forward in scientific advancements, Tamara Finkelstein, Permanent Secretary at Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said “I am delighted to see Fera opening this state-of-the-art insect research laboratory. This is a critical time for innovation in biotechnology and the insect unit has the potential to reduce our impact on the environment, making progress towards a more circular economy…The breadth of national and international partners involved will help ensure its success and demonstrates Fera’s international reputation for taking scientific innovation to new markets.”

As new advancements begin to shed light on the future of food, it is clear to see that edible insects are at the forefront of a food revolution.

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