Bug-based food ingredients á la VTT
Insects are an underexploited but promising resource of animal-based food protein. Insect farming is one of the most affordable and sustainable future solutions to complement the global shortage of protein.
To increase utilization of insects, cost-effective processing technologies that provide palatable, functional, stable and safe food products and ingredients are needed. Processing technologies for insects to fractionate the valuable components such as proteins are widely unexplored, although significant benefits in terms of stability and sensory quality could be achieved.
Improved sensory properties
Insects are primarily composed of protein and fat inside a chitin-containing exoskeleton. Taking advantage of vast dry fractionation know-how and the milling behaviour of insects, VTT has developed a simple dry technology to produce insect fractions with improved sensory properties.
Gentle supercritical carbon dioxide extraction allows production of high-quality insect oil and facilitates dry processing of the remaining protein-rich insect mass into high-protein food ingredients. The new insect protein ingredients are expected to show broad applicability in various food products.
VTT’s dry fractionation technology yields insect protein fractions which have potential to replace more expensive and less sustainable animal proteins in both existing and new food products. This technology as well as knowledge about the nutritional and sensory quality, functionality and performance of these ingredients in various foods will benefit the sprouting insect market in Europe and worldwide.
Insects are rich in minerals, vitamins, unsaturated fat and high-quality protein that contains all essential amino acids.
Insect farming beats conventional meat production in sustainability: bugs have high feed conversion ratios, require limited space and emit low levels of greenhouse gases. Insects can be grown on organic side streams such as food waste to transform them into a high-protein, high-oil feedstock that has potential for broader food and feed use.
Katariina Rommi, Research Scientist
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