Synopsis: Although two billion people already eat insects in the world, these ‘green’ sources of protein are not incorporated into Western diets. Insect protein is healthy, nutritionally valuable, has great potential as a component of urban circular systems of food waste management and Western uptake could mitigate potential declines in entomophagy in other markets. Tilly will talk about some of the opportunities (and barriers) that may support integration of insect protein as a more widespread conventional food product in the west. This work has its roots in the MSc thesis projects of the ‘Eat Ento’ IDE team* and of Pauline Vaskou, now Corporate Sustainability Manager at Tesco PLC. A school-based investigation surveying >150 London children, aged 6 to 15, and >100 of their parents and an online consumer survey with over 1000 mainly British and French consumers, have given some insights into the potential for this market in the West. This work supports the idea that incorporating insect food into our diets makes not only environmental but also business sense. Young children and pre-teens could represent a substantial market segment, though this is as yet unexplored. Multiple marketing strategies, such as education, reducing the visibility of insect parts or peer-to-peer marketing would facilitate the adoption of insect food in the ‘mainstream’ arena. * see this video for their 10 min summary
Bio: Tilly Collins is a Senior Fellow in the CEP with wide interests and an appetite for life (including insects). After a lively 10 years in fashion and event management, she re-trained as an entomologist and now oversees teaching of the quantitative skills and ecology in the MSc programme. She publishes in several fields and has an increasing interest in the decision- making that will make green spaces in urban areas more sustainable and valued for their many benefits. For the past six years she has also been part of John Mumford’s Risk Management Team contributing to field data flow and management and analysis for Target Malaria.