Insect eating and selling go legal in Switzerland

Since May 1st 2017, it is legal to sell and eat insects in Switzerland. It’s time to prepare ourselves to find mealworms, crickets and grasshoppers sold in supermarkets and restaurants (and maybe try some – for those who dare!). For two billion people, mostly living in Africa, Asia and South America, insects are already part of their daily diet. And since 2015 it is possible to eat edible insects in a few European countries, including Belgium. Will it become a new food trend in Switzerland? We have asked some experts about how the food landscape could change. Keep reading to find out some interesting insights!

What are the benefits of edible insects?

The Food and Agricuture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has carried out several studies since 2003 about edible insects as a food solution. According to their study “Regulating the use of insects as food and feed”, edible insects contain high quality protein, vitamins and amino acids for humans. Insects have a high food conversion rate: for instance, crickets need six times less feed than cattle, four times less than sheep, and twice less than pigs and broiler chickens to produce the same amount of protein. Furthermore, they emit less greenhouse gases and ammonia than conventional livestock. Insects can be grown on organic waste. Therefore, insects are a potential source for conventional production (mini-livestock) of protein, either for direct human consumption, or indirectly in recomposed foods (with extracted protein from insects); and as a protein source into feedstock mixtures.

 

Photo credits: Philippe Rossier, Kickstart Accelerator, Visit from Johann Schneider-Ammann, President of the Swiss Confederation (11/10/16)

Will this have an impact on Switzerland’s FoodTech industry?

We have interviewed David Emmerth, Food Vertical Lead at Kickstart Accelerator, and Perttu, CEO and Co-Founder of EntoCube, and asked them about what this new legislation brings to Switzerland. David highlights the pioneering role Switzerland is taking in the FoodTech industry by allowing the sale of insects for daily consumption. “This makes Switzerland an ideal location for startups in the insect area to test their products. In addition, alternative protein sources are among the leading innovation drivers in the food industry – and insects play a central role”.

Entocube, one of the Kickstart Accelerator 2016 participants, pointed out the huge market potential insects have. With an estimated 360M food market and a 20 billion protein market available, companies in Switzerland are starting to consider this alternative. Perttu Karjalainen, CEO and Co-Founder of EntoCube, has shared with us how their insect farming technologies can increase the production efficiency and output. According to Perttu, “This is a very important step for Europe and the western world. It’s fantastic that Switzerland is leading the change towards insect-based foods and has built a sound legislation to support this change. It is already a food trend, and it will keep growing“.

Photo credits: Philippe Rossier, Kickstart Accelerator, Visit from Johann Schneider-Ammann, President of the Swiss Confederation (11/10/16)

Coop and Migros are taking first steps

We spoke with the two largest retailers in Switzerland, Coop and Migros, Global Partners of our Food Vertical at Kickstart Accelerator, and asked them about what the legalization of the selling and consumption of edible insects means for them, and if they are planning to launch any new products soon.

Coop has shared with us that they are soon planning to launch products made from insects:

“Spotting and implementing prospective trends is part of our culture. As there is an increasing number of people with passion for innovative and exotic food, we plan to introduce insect products like burgers or meatballs in our supermarkets as soon as possible”. –  Silvio Baselgia, Head of department for fresh products at Coop

Migros looks forward to the developments in this field: “Migros is very interested in new food concepts and is actively pursuing interesting projects connected to long-term nutrition changes. We will certainly follow the updates about how insects are used for human consumption”. – Migros

Startups in this field: you have a new market where you can test out your products!