Entec Nutrition and Nuffield Scholars visit to WUR
Olivia Champion, CEO of Entec Nutrition, Partner in the INSECT DOCTORS EJD visited WUR together with Nuffield Scholars on September 19th 2022.
Dr Olivia Champion
As founder and CEO of Entec Nutrition, a UK company with a focus on developing insect ingredients for food and feed, I was delighted to visit Wageningen University and Research last week to meet some of the academics working in the field of insects for food and feed, as well as several of the Insect Doctors PhD students. Joining me on the visit was a group of fellow UK 2022 Nuffield scholars who come from diverse agricultural backgrounds but were keen to learn about the opportunities and challenges of insect farming. Nuffield Farming Scholarships aim to inspire passion in people and develop their potential to lead positive change in farming and food. Scholarships are awarded to unlock individual potential and broaden horizons through study and travel overseas, with a view to developing the farming and agricultural industries. My Nuffield scholarship explores how we can farm carbon neutral edible insects profitably and I learnt a huge amount from my visit to Wageningen about the topic. To start the day I gave a talk about my background and our work at Entec Nutrition. We then had talks from academics working on edible insects from the departments of Animal breeding and Genomics, Virology, Entomology, Animal Nutrition and Business Economics. We were also given tours of the laboratories by the Insect Doctors students who described their diverse and fascinating research projects to us. The take home message is that insect farming offers many of the same challenges as other livestock farming. Challenges include determining optimal genetics to promote favourable characteristics, infection risk, both to the insect colony and the risk of zoonoses passing through the insects to the consumer, welfare, optimal substrate and business considerations. Despite the challenges, the opportunities of insect farming are immense as sustainable, high quality protein sources are sought for feed and food for the growing global population. All the Nuffield scholars left Wageningen University with a broad and deep understanding of insects as feed and food and we are so grateful to the staff and students who took the time to meet with us.