A new five-year roadmap for Australia's edible insect industry aims to achieve a $10 million per year industry. It is being supported by AgriFuture Australia and AgThentic.

The industry-led Research, Development and Extension (RD&E) plan explores challenges, opportunities and recommendations for insect farmers to collaborate and share ideas on how to strengthen the industry in Australia.

Co-author of the report, CEO and founder of AgThentic, Sarah Nolet said collaboration and sharing foundational industry knowledge between members will be key to developing a unanimous ‘voice’ for industry and securing future investment.

“There are currently only 14 active Australian insect farming businesses operating across Australia, of these, 10 produce insects for animal feed and four produce insects for human consumption,” said Nolet.

“As a first step, insect producers, researchers, investors, regulators and interested stakeholders need to find ways to connect; through conferences, education programs and other events both locally and globally.”

Skye Blackburn, founder of The Edible Bug Shop, has been farming insects for human consumption since 2007. She told Food & Drink Business the report was a must-read for anyone interested in insects, with education a key component in changing consumers’ perceptions around insects as food.

“The media and social media play such an important role in providing accessible and positive information around what it really looks like to include insect-based ingredients as part of your everyday diet,” said Blackburn.

“Our business focuses on insects for human consumption so we would love to see work done around nutrition analysis, processing into food ingredients and educating consumers about the fantastic benefits of insects as a source of food, but there is also a huge opportunity for regulations to be developed around insects for feed and animal nutrition, which will help Australian insect farmers and feed manufacturers become world leaders in this space.

“By developing clear regulations around insects as feed we will see a huge (and fast) growth in the insects as feed sector in Australia.”

“Knowing about all of the amazing and talented people in this space at the moment, I really don't think it will take the full five years to reach the $10million target.”

The full report can be accessed here.

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