Best practices to remain sustainable in the Food industry

Best practices to remain sustainable in the Food industry

Best practices to remain sustainable in the Food Industry

Best Practices with Edible Insects Novel Food Law


best practices sustainable

Exporting food has an environmental cost so is it really impossible to remain sustainable while consuming it? What are the best practices then ?

My last interview with Risteco’s co-funder Isabelle Lacourt and Thanaphum Muang-Ieam, a Thai edible insects entrepreneur were edifying.

Environmental cost of international export, especially between different continents seem fundamentally not sustainable.

Eating bananas from Australia would generate about 1.4 ton of CO2 since planes pollute 3 times more than cars. Moreover, that would deprive local farmers of jobs. Furthermore, consuming exotic food would promote an irresponsible consumption way.

 So, should we stop eating bananas ?

On the 26th of october a conference involving the European Commission and the National Bureau of Agricultural Commodity and Food Standards (ACFS) evokating edible insects future legislation took place in Bangkok. This novel food law should enter into force by 2018 to make edible insects business legal into the European Union. According to the regulatory expert of the Public Federal Service of Public Health in Brussels, edible insects from Asia and other continents might be legalized if they respect specific conditions.

However, we can expect these Asiatic insects to be sold at a lower price than the european one. As a result, we could expect those bugs to be the main consumers choice in the coming years.

best practices sustainable

Then are edible insects still going to be a sustainable food?

best practices sustainable edible insect

Exporting is not always a bad thing” Isabelle Lacourt, cofounder of Ritseco says . It actually depends on the conditions the products have been made through. For instance, lambs from New Zealand actually revealed that exported food was sometimes healthier than the french ones.

In Thailand firms dealing with edible insects prepare to get into the European Market. They plan to produce this future food by huge amount. Is that wrong?

“Producing at a high scale is necessary in order to be profitable otherwise it is too expensive” Thanaphum Muang-Ieam co-funder of Global Bugs, answers.


Therefore the best practices to remain sustainable are:

  1. Increase your production to get into global markets

  2. Reducing your crickets breeding space

  3. Develop a local farmer learning and support model

  4. Anticipate future sustainable development hurdles

best practices sustainable” It is wrong to make huge firms based on a vertical integration process. We need to separate the different supply chain activities to reach a better quality food »Dr. Yupa Hanboonsong said.

« Mass production is never conducive to biodiversity » Isabelle Lacourt added. Indeed, single supplier, concentration & production cost’ permanent reduction work are not sustainable.

Promoting sustainable food is a great opportunity to provide billions of people with high quality food standards. It should not be seen only as a business opportunity. If business is the key point of any sustainable activities, long-term effects of any opportunist approach might lead to a poor food quality.

Discover my three months edible insects’ investigation and best practices here.

Top 10 food trends in Europe

Top 10 food trends in Europe

Top 10 food trends in Europe:

Dried vegetables, protein-rich yogurt, burger without beef. These products are not only the core of organic shops, they become alternatives increasingly popular with consumers who aspire to a generally healthier diet … even if sugary is still a venial sin assumed. Overview of these top 10 food trends observed in Europe with Innova Market and Nielsen insights.

1 – Go with Transparency

27% of Europeans would like to stop eating transformed products. Consumers want a clear list of ingredients and transparency of the recipe. Some supplier don’t hesitate to highlight the recipe. In France, Marie made the brand name of one their product “All Simply “, where the ingredient list intends to be as short as reassuring. In US, for jerky products, local producer, Wild Merman, highlights  the nutrition facts.

top10food_marie        salmonjerky_1

2 – Go with Flexitarian

The soft vegetarian which consume meat in small quantity, has grown by 25% between 2011 and 2015. Vegetable Nuggets for kids, vegan salami and other alternatives are under expansion. Retailer like Carrefour adopted this trend with its private label “Carrefour Veggie” in France. In US, Hilary’s Mediterranean vegan burgers were recognized as a lighter and healthier version of a fried falafel.

top10food_veggie       hilary veggie

3 – Go with“0%”

There is now 12% desired gluten-free products, with an increase of 30% between 2011 and 2015. If these customers still a niche, the image is such that some products naturally gluten or lactose, even boast of his absence! The offer is growing, Innova Market’s insights noted, indeed a huge 26% increase of products bearing the words “without” the last four years. Recently in UK, Coca cola launched its new brand ‘Coca Cola Zero Sugar’ to highlight the fewer calories. In 2020 they target more than 50% of their sells from Diet coke range. Bjorg, widely known for their Gluten-free assortment, are present in 1/3 home in France.

top10food_zero top10food_bjorg

4 – Go with Natural Process

Key success is to enhance naturalness of the products, betting on natural and ancestral manufacturing methods. Fresh prepared goods are highly valued by retailers. Nestlé yogurt brand “La Laitière” use this image of ancestral fabrication indicating that only the fermentation participated in rendering its dairy product. Private label as “Carrefour Lunch Time” highlights this natural made image.

top10food_lalaitire top10food_salad

5 – Go with Vegetables & Fruits

These plants have never been so good news! If their benefits are globally well communicated, its hegemony is now spread in many product categories. For example fruit juice, a quarter of new products marketed in 2015 has at least one vegetable in their composition, against 16 % in 2011. Another trend that follows, the soup acquires acclaim . In Spain, the cold & hot soups are increasingly premium, like the brand Tio or Mucho Gazpacho

vegetable souptop10food_tio

6 – Go with Labels

The origin is a new recurring motif in the marketing of food products. Recognized labels linked to the origin of products tend to comfort consumers. The development of protected geographical indications (PGI) help brands to seduce shoppers. In France, as each year, Herta (Nestle) and Fleury Michon still the most loved brands, their labels play a large part of this success.

top10food_ham top10food_herta

7 – Go with Local

Local taste preference dominates: Local companies often have a deeper understanding of consumer tastes in their market and can respond more quickly to changing needs. Local products are a great way through which to differentiate, able to reinforce the link with local farmers and producers and provide a guarantee of food security. Retailers know how to link local farmer to shopper mostly through private label. Carrefour has one especially for Italy (Terre d’Italia) and France (Reflets de France). Virginia Tea company is a popular start up which promotes the American East Coast tea with an exclusive local sourcing.

top 10 food trends  top 10 food trends


8 – Go with Protein

Rich-protein products keep healthy. These products, originally created to satisfy athletes, are now desired by the mass market. Rich protein yogurt are a good example in terms of diversification as Danone did with Light & fit assortment. In a more local format, Think Jerky got funded in two month in 2015 by proposing a creative and healthy snack offer.



9 – Go with Fun

In 2020, Millennials will be the largest group of shoppers worldwide. Global mobile penetration will be 70% and the main influencing device will be online video. Buzz create an emotional link with the product, well-executed humor appeal, enhances recollection, evaluation and the intent to purchase. Doritos Roulette is a famous case, containing some ultra-spiced chips, makers claims they are the hottest sold in the UK. Jelly Belly is also well-known among younger in this concept, they even created a board game with their candies. In YouTube they are both doing the buzz with more than ten millions views.

top10food_jelly top 10 food trends


10 – Go with Exoticism

Discovering new foreign flavours still a famous trend and constantly renewed. Exotic products remain a niche market which contributes to renew the offer. It’s important for retailer and supplier to find the exotic touch of the moment. As Asian flavours are quite trendy in Europe nowadays, Unilever with his local brand Conimex in the Netherlands and global brand, Knorr Asia.



Source: Innova Market Insights, Nielsen, Kantar TNS, top 10 food trends

How food technology will enhance households lives

How food technology will enhance households lives

Food technology is taking over our kitchens and changing the way of eating and cooking.

Tech giants like Samsung, Dyson and innovative start-up companies are heavily working and investing on it. The focus area is the user. From smart refrigerator to portable food safety checker, food technology aims both at the simplification and at the improvement of a household life. There are four key pillars where food technology devices focus. These are: smart kitchen, digital dining, safe food and healthy diet.

In this article the most promising food technologies are analysed. Firstly, these aim to enhance the life quality of households. Secondly, they all are examples of what a consumer needs representing for the food industry strong consumer trends to be watched out.

1. IKEA Smart table

IKEA smart table brings the future inside the kitchen. Single food items are recognized when placed on the table, suggesting linked recipes. Single steps are projected on the table in real time. It has the function to warm the surface and cook directly on the table. The table consists of a camera and projector above the table with an induction coils underneath the table surface. Put together they are able to recognise objects movement, projecting images on the table used as a screen.

2. Smart Refrigerator

With a Freshness Tracker, this refrigerator can monitor items in the fridge and suggest recipes to be sent over to the oven. Enables users to track the expiration dates of food items and sets reminders so that foods wastage is minimized. Food items can be input into the food management system by voice recognition or scanning the receipt or product bar code on a smartphone. It also offers Smart shopping, which can be done directly from the refrigerator’s LCD panel or a smartphone.

3. Smart knife

The hi-tech utensil calculates dangerous levels of bacteria in food, analyses sugar content and gauges how much protein or carbohydrate is present in food. The idea is to use the sensors in the knife to assess nutritional value and freshness of fresh food products. Delivering accurate feedback in terms of product freshness, it helps the user checking food labeling and eliminate redundant expiry dates.

4. Global chef holographic projector

It connects people around the world through hologram technology to facilitate a social cooking experience that is not limited by geographic location. With the holographic projection technology, the conceptual device conjures up image projections of friends and family or holographic chefs while they shows how to cook daily recipes.

5. Digital taste simulator

The device works via a simulation-game that offers individuals the opportunity to combine a host of different ingredients to create their own dishes. And the dishes can then be tasted. The taste can be simulated as ‘flavor replication‘ and then ‘samplers’ miniature spoon like utensils that send ‘flavor replication signals to the brain placing it on taste buds present in the tongue.

6. Tellspec

It is a handheld spectrometer scanner that can analyze materials by measuring properties of light, which can help detect risk and hazard in food. After beaming a low-powered laser at an edible product, and decoding the photons that are emitted back to the device, the scanner can detect the presence of allergens and chemicals, and chart calorific composition.

7. Peres

It analyzes air borne data to check beef, poultry, pork, and fish for freshness. The user gets feedback instantly via the system’s mobile app. It uses four different sensors to determine whether or not food has gone bad. One detects volatile organic compounds (VOCs), another gauges ammonia levels, another checks temperature, and one measures humidity levels. The device reads and analyzes the data gathered by the sensors before transmitting it via Bluetooth to th euser’s smartphone or tablet where it can be viewed on the PERES app.

8. Thanko sodium meter

It assess the percentage of salt present in warm liquid and semi-liquid foods like soup, pasta or curry, which helps people to control daily salt intakes. There is a sodium sensor inside it, and the results can bedisplayed on an LED scale within a couple of seconds. This technology is thought for households who, for health reasons, need to have low salt intakes.

For more on food technology read Best 3D Food printers.

The ‘Ick’ Factor which Takes People Out of Edible Insects

The ‘Ick’ Factor which Takes People Out of Edible Insects

There’s a lot of hype around edible insects. Insects are presented since years as an healthy and sustainable alternative to conventional protein sources to face the upcoming challenges and get the work done by 2050. Nonetheless it didn’t drill out as expected.

2050 is the last milestone to get into edible insects!

population 2050In 2050, we will likely be close to 10 billion people on earth. To cope with this huge increase in mouth to feed, we will need to double or triple our food production. On a limited planet surface which suffers many consequences due to a massive production, overfished oceans and global warming, our food production and consumption patterns will not be sustainable anymore.

But how to convince people that climate is warming when it has never been so cold in autumn and how to convince people that billions of people will starve whereas there has never been such obeses in the human history? Obviously, statistical analysis accurately demonstrate these issues through a frightening fluctuation in climate as well as in malnutrition – there’s about 1 billion people affected by famine – and health diseases. Currently, we can see the effects of our production methods on health and the environment.  To cope with food problems today and tomorrow, what we eat, produce and our relation with food should be reconsidered. Few years ago was introduced a new idea to solve this global issue, throughout a very good source of protein: the insects!

Your ancester were entomophagists…will you?

edibleinsects488903155Behind the barbarian word entomophagist is hidden the story of our food diet. Edible insects have long been a part of the human diet and are commonly consumed as a food source in many regions of the world. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), two billion people currently consume insects as part of their diets. Insects may be an increasingly important source of protein because of the rising cost of animal protein, food insecurity, environmental pressures, climate change, and population growth.  In 2008, in a first report FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) hypothesized insects as a possible solution for human and animal food. Insect consumption by humans is called “eat bugs.” Insects, arthropods branch as shellfish, account for over half the animal species of the world with over 1 million species identified at present. Nevertheless FAO seemed to revized its judgment about insects solution while the word INSECTS does not even appear in the official FAO workplans for the years 2016/17 !

Clear Nutritional and gustative interests

The large variety of insects species has different nutritional values but we can remember that, in general, insects are a great source of protein which equals meat. In addition, some species contain high levels of omega-3, zinc, iron and magnesium.  This large number of species also provides us a whole range of different flavors. They can approach both the hazelnut and pistachio as fish or even potatoes. One can thus use insects in sweet or savory preparations.  Within a rigorous livestock intended for human consumption and after preparation and proper cooking, their use presents no greater risk than other meat.

‘Demand for edible insects in countries in Europe is on the rise, primarily owing to factors such as low risk of disease – as transmission of zoonotic diseases (diseases transmitted from animals to humans) such as H1N1 (bird flu) and BSE (mad cow disease) is low with regard to insects – and higher protein and nutrients and micronutrients such as copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium and zinc, and fatty acids in comparison to meat and fish products.’According to the Global Market Study on Edible Insects, by Persistence Market Research.

Environmental interests


Insects are cold blooded animals, so they do not need to use the energy from their diets to maintain a constant body temperature. Add to this their frugal asset. It requires nearly 10 times less feed to produce 1 kilogram of insect protein compared to 1 kilogram of beef protein.  Besides, insects solution requires less space, less water and produces less pollutants and waste. Insects have also a double advantage in food industry. It can be used both for human food to animal food!

At the end of the day, why don’t we adopt them if they’re so good for us and for the planet?

The Stakeholders value



For the producer


The breeding of insects requires little space, little power (10Kg of vegetable produce 9Kg of insects, against 1Kg of beef for instance) and low water consumption.



For the consumer


This is a product with high protein content. Consumers looking for a neutral offer emission of greenhouse gases will be delighted with this commodity.



For the distributor


It is a modern solution and offers differentiation. To be fully distributed, it remains to discover if volumes will follow.



The underlying ‘ick’ factors out of eating insects

The first obstacle is public acceptance! Even if we consume, without realizing, about 500 grams of insects each year (legal authorization to 0.1% insects in wheat flour or used as a red food coloring) much of us are not ready to consume voluntarily due to their unjustified bad reputation and the ‘ick’ factor.

Second, it is necessary to create an industrial-scale automated production system. This would allow continuous production with quality and optimum food safety to meet the strong market demand.

Finally, a legal and regulatory environment will oversee the production and placement on the market. At present, There are legal uncertainties in Europe around this point.

The edible insect market


In terms of value, the global edible insects market is anticipated to expand at a CAGR of 6.1% during the forecast period and is expected to account for US$ 722.9 million by 2024 end. Orthoptera (cricket, grasshopper, and locusts) segment is projected to register a CAGR of 8.1% over the forecast period, driven by rising demand for cricket granola bars, cricket crackers, cricket cookies, and cricket chocolates. Of the various edible insect type products, the beetle’s segment is estimated to account for approximately 30.8% share of the global market share in 2016, and caterpillars segment is estimated to account for 17.9% share. According to the Global Market Study on Edible Insects, by Persistence Market Research.

The insect most commercialised:

On the basis of insect type, the global edible insect market is segmented into beetles, caterpillars, hymenoptera (wasps, bees, and ants), orthoptera (cricket, grasshopper, and locusts), true bugs, and others (termites, dragonflies, flies, and etc.) segments. The most commonly and commercially consumed product type of edible insect is as a whole. The as a whole segment accounted for 65.3% share of the global market in 2015. Insects are majorly consumed as a whole, which is usually raw. As an ingredient, edible insects are consumed majorly as snacks and baked products. A major trend in the global edible insects market is increasing applications of edible insects in protein bars and shakes, increasing the availability of flavored food products using edible insect proteins, availability of mixed insect pack and usage as a coloring agent in food products. According to the Global Market Study on Edible Insects, by Persistence Market Research.

Three startup surfing on insect wave

1. Exo Cricket Flour Protein Bar

exo cricketFor now, Exo’s crickets are raised on a diet of organic grains and filtered water and sourced from farms in the U.S. and Canada that have cropped up in recent years to supply an increased demand for insects raised for human consumption. The market for meal replacement products, including shakes and bars, expanded to $3.2 billion last year, from $2.1 billion in 2006, according to IBISWorld.

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2. Six Foods


Six Foods make foods with insects. Their first product is Chirps chips, a chips made with cricket flour that is 3x the protein and 40% less fat than the leading tortilla chip. Their Chirps are non-GMO, gluten/soy/dairy-free, and all-natural, and each serving of chips contains as much protein as an egg. [mks_separator style=”blank” height=”2″]

3. Critter Bitters

critter-bitters-coasterWho knew the missing secret ingredient for handcrafted cocktail is bugs? Toasted crickets, to be exact, says co-founder Julia Plevin, a grad student at New York’s School of Visual Arts. Critter Bitters reinvents bitter for cocktails while using insect as a primary ingredient.

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So, although you may be motivated to eat insect products because of their healthiness or sustainability, a range of competing factors will ultimately affect whether insect products actually end up on your plate. To expand the global consumption of insects, food industry stakeholders will need to provide a better focus for both industrial and commercial attention.
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Source: Dutch university of Wageningen, lsa-conso, Persistence Market Research

Byproduct and coproduct : How they could reduce food waste

Byproduct and coproduct : How they could reduce food waste

About a third of the food we eat goes to waste, amounting to nearly 1.3 billion tons per year globally.

Representing an estimated cost of nearly $1 trillion. The situation is ethically and economically unacceptable, and pressure is mounting for the food sector to tackle the issue. While retailers consider waste as a fact of life, the truth is that waste is often the result of choices being made. By managing the right balance between waste, on-shelf product freshness and availability, retailers can and should control waste. They can also drive efficiency and improve profits while increasing customer’s satisfaction with fresh categories, according to a recent study. However, eliminating waste entirely is not an option anymore. Even if achieving zero waste would be unrealistic; it would require a dramatic reduction in the availability of products and place, and it will also limit the consumers’ choices. That said, the opportunity to cut waste is very significant. If pursued wisely and it could result in a huge upside for producers, retailers and consumers. That is why some solutions like byproduct are conceivables.


Coproduct/byproduct: solutions to reduce the waste

What is a coproduct? What does it mean? According to the Business Dictionary “Product manufactured along with a different product, in a process in which both are required in the production of another product. In comparison, a by-product is usually an undesirable product”.

In other words, a coproduct is a material, intentional and unavoidable, created during the same manufacturing process and at the same time as the main product. The final product and coproduct must both respect specifications and technical characteristics. At the end of the process, each is capable of being used directly for a particular purpose.

On the other hand, the definition of a byproduct is: “Output other than the principal product(s) of an industrial process, such as sawdust or woodchips generated in processing lumber. Unlike joint-products, byproducts have low value in comparison with the principal product(s) and may be discarded or sold either in their original state, or after further processing.”
A byproduct is a secondary product derived from a manufacturing process or chemical reaction.

Resources with a high value

USA – Coproduct: Seeds with ethanol

When processors use the starch in corn to produce ethanol, they turn about one-third of their processed corn volume into coproducts that contain protein, fat and fiber.

As ethanol production surged between 2000 and 2010, the supply of distillers grains and other ethanol coproducts soared. Feed manufacturers and animal producers reformulated rations, which had relied heavily on corn and soybean meal, to use the ingredients. Exports of dried distillers grains with soluble (DDGS) jumped from 1 million tons in 2006 to more than 11 million tons in 2014, says the U.S. Grains Council.


Byproduct: Vegetables transforming into pet food

In the sector of fruits & vegetables, coproduct recovery is also running for a few years. The tomato industry, 2nd most important worldwide production after the potato, generates a lot of recyclable waste: pomace, peels, and seeds. Their main way of recovery is the drying and / or silage to reduce their water content. Thus they can be used in the feeding of ruminants and pigs, but also in composting, spreading and industrial application after extraction of nutritionally noble ingredients (lycopene and carotenoids). Generally the fruits & vegetables industry recovered 3/4 of their animal to the pet food.


Byproduct: Cotton becomes packaging or wall paper

Some parts of the cotton plant that would otherwise be considered trash have novel uses. Ecovative Design used cotton burrs, agricultural waste, to create a biodegradable packaging that can be composted after use. The Hydromulch which helps control soil erosion is also made from by-products of the ginning process. Cotton byproducts are in everything from ice cream to wall paper, from hot dog casings to baseballs—not to mention lots of things we use at home, like cotton swabs, wipes, and even disposable diapers.


Examples of byproduct and coproduct valuation are everywhere (See also ugly fruits). This process is primordial for the companies to increase their turnover because it reduces significantly the looses. Moreover it is really important for the environment and the footprint. Consumers have to take care of it and realize that the product recovery is the future. 

Sources: Business Dictionary / Food-development / Brinknews / Iowafarmertoday / cottontoday