IPIFF – Press release 13th of May 2022

Brussels – 13th of May 2022

The European insect sector highlights its research priorities in order to support the transformation of the European and global food systems

More than 150 participants from the European Union and beyond gathered online for the workshop entitled ‘New horizons for insect farming: the role of research and innovation in strengthening cross-border collaboration’ hosted by the International Platform of Insects for Food and Feed (IPIFF). Under the baton of Ms Natasha Foote, agri-food journalist at EURACTIV, this IPIFF workshop featured several high-level speakers who are experts in the fields of research, international partnerships and insect production, including delegates from the European Commission (Dr Leonard Mizzi – Directorate-General for International Partnerships (DG INTPA); Ms Magdalena Gajdzinska – Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD) and relevant representatives of research bodies[1]/EU organisations with research scopes.Taking into account the regulatory milestones achieved in 2021[2], while also highlighting the recent evidence from scientific studies, one of the main objectives of this online workshop was to present to the wider public the updated version of the IPIFF Brochure on research priorities, almost three years after its first release. As highlighted by the IPIFF President Ms Adriana Casillas in her opening speech, ‘Global crisis, such as the COVID pandemic, climate warming and the most recent war in Ukraine, have underlined the need for our food systems to rapidly adapt and find sustainable solutions. Addressing these global challenges requires the development and adoption of novel research and innovation approaches. […] We believe that science-based evidence is of utmost importance to support the advancement of the insect production sector.’ The first keynote speaker of the event, Dr Leonard Mizzi, Head of Unit at DG INTPA, underlined the importance of accelerating the deployment of innovative solutions and strengthening agri-food resilience making the food system more robust in front of future challenges such as the war in Ukraine and related food security issues, possible future pandemics and climate change. Following his intervention, the second keynote speaker Ms Magdalena Gajdzinska, Policy Officer at DG RTD, highlighted how the calls from the Horizon Europe projects, including those related to alternative proteins, are aligned with global agri-food challenges and international research priorities. Insect production was recognised to be a promising solution to addressing the abovementioned challenges by both the European Commission representatives. The presentation of the newly updated IPIFF Research Brochure was given by the IPIFF Executive Committee Member in charge of research matters Mr Rui Nunes, who informed the audience about the research priorities identified by IPIFF in the context of insect farming. Exploring new feeding substrates for farmed insects, the contribution of insect frass as fertiliser and the health benefits of insects in food and feed were identified as main priorities for the European insect sector, indeed ‘through this updated version of the brochure, our aim is to highlight certain priorities that were identified as highly relevant in order to support the sustainable growth of the European insect sector. At the same time, addressing these priorities through EU funded projects would play a key role in achieving the EU ‘Farm to Fork’ strategy targets.’ The webinar continued with the presentations of the three panellists Mr Ignacio Perez Dominguez – Senior Scientist and Team Leader at the JRC, Mr Giovanni Colombo – Senior Public Affairs Manager at EIT Food and Dr Pernille Nørgaard Videbæk – PhD and Researcher at Aarhus University respectively on the creation of the JRC models and the contribution of insects to a circular economy and consumers behaviour and acceptance in relation to edible insects. Through this online workshop and its speakers, the European insect sector stressed the importance of EU funded projects including opportunities for insect farming which could help, not only to upscale the industry but also to contribute to making our food systems more sustainable, resilient and healthy.


  Note: Registered participants will also receive a link to access the recording of this webinar. This video will be made available on the IPIFF YouTube channel soon.

[1] The Joint Research Centre of Sevilla, Mr Ignacio Perez Dominguez and EIT food (pan-European organisation supported by the European Commission) Mr Giovanni Colombo and Ms Pernille Nørgaard Videbæk.

[2] The four Novel Food authorisations for edible insects, the authorisation of insect PAPs in poultry and pig feed and the creation of EU harmonised standards for insect frass.

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