Terraforming Market
Sustainable Goods Expo Tokyo 2023 - International exhibition of sustainable environmentally friendly products. From April 5 to 7
Healthy food

Sustainability technologies for growing alternative protein

Alternative protein
Rapid population growth (according to the UN, the population will reach 9.7 billion by 2050), the environmental costs of animal husbandry, changing consumer preferences and health awareness are driving the search for alternative proteins. By 2050, food production needs to increase by 70% to meet the needs of people around the world. And this is in the presence of only 5% of additional arable land. The introduction of alternative protein into the food chain will reduce the amount of land involved in agriculture by 98% and reduce the consumption of associated resources by 50%, thereby contributing to the fight against climate change and biodiversity degradation, while still offering a healthy, high-quality and abundant protein. In addition, there is a need for sustainable food supply chains that are less related to animal protein production. Plant-based or fermented protein options are no longer niche consumer trends, especially since the protein content of, for example, crickets is 77%, while beef is 26%, chicken is 27%, salmon is 20%, and soy is 19. %, in the egg - only 13%. Alternative protein is going mainstream.
Edible Insects
2.5 billion people already eat insects, mostly in the Greater South. For example, in the Congo, the average household in Kinshasa eats over 300 grams of caterpillars per week. In the Central African Republic, the average person eats about 42 caterpillars a day during the rainy season. In Asia, between 150 and 200 species of insects are regularly eaten. For example, about 80 different types of insects are eaten in Thailand. The red palm beetle is so popular that it is considered a delicacy throughout the Asian continent.

In Mexico, local farmers look for red and white agave larvae to cook - usually the insects are fried and seasoned and then served on a tortilla with a spicy sauce. By the way, Mexico is one of the leading countries with the largest variety of edible insects on the planet, with over 300 different species.

In fact, you already eat over 0.5 kilograms of insects every year without even knowing it. They are naturally present in juices, fruits, vegetables, and food coloring E120, made from cochineal, which gives the red color to many foods.

According to recent studies, there are more than 1900 edible insects, but the most famous of them are Orthoptera (grasshoppers, locusts, etc.), as well as beetle larvae (worms, weevils, etc.), Hymenoptera (ants, bee larvae ... ). As with any animal product, the growing conditions and processing of the product will determine the quality of the insects. Today, protein powder and its various variations are primarily produced from insects: snacks, flour and various pastries, ice cream, smoothies and other alternatives to dairy products, and, of course, eaten in their original form - for example, fried crickets are quite popular. The shelf life of insects is usually 8-12 months.
Health benefits of edible insect protein
  • Naturally high protein content
  • High quality protein with a complete amino acid profile
  • Natural high content of vitamins and minerals
  • Natural source of omega-3 fatty acids
  • Natural high fiber content.
Chitin can cause allergies.
Influence of agricultural cultivation of insects on ecology
Fresh insect production has a significantly lower environmental impact compared to other traditional animal protein sources:
  • Limited greenhouse gas emissions (approximately 1.5 kg of CO2, while poultry - 3.7, pigs - 4.66, cattle - 33.07)
  • Comparatively high energy consumption (insects are cold-blooded, a higher ambient temperature is needed to maintain optimal growth; nevertheless, it is about 2 times lower than that required for raising cattle). By the way, it is for this reason (and also for economic reasons) that the production of most European and American companies involved in the production of food from insects is located in Asia or South America (Vietnam and Mexico are especially popular).
  • Efficient use of feed (usually does not require the cultivation of special feed, in particular, production waste, such as flour, can be used)
  • Low land use due to vertical farming (approximately 2.1 square meters, while for poultry - 4.8, pigs - 8.98, cattle - 122.13)
  • Low water consumption (about 0.1 cubic meters, while for poultry - 4.3, pigs - 6, cattle - 15.4)
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