If you plot who’s eating what in the world – people, animals, fish, bugs, plants – you realise it doesn’t always make sense. For instance, some foods that could be really high value are being treated as waste, with some of this fed to animals. Whenever we make a meal, some elements of the ingredients get left out. Often we create animal feed from these by-products: we don’t think of them as potentially human food. But there are famous brands – such as Marmite – that also originate from by-products. What’s stopping us from building new markets for human consumption around them?
Sometimes, eating something ramps up its value. When insects eat waste, they convert it into high value nutrients, like protein. Feed insects to animals, and you’re giving waste new value. Why not set an army of insects on our inedible, organic waste?
The big question is, how can the protein system deliver the best environmental and health outcomes for a growing population? Some of the solutions might lie in culinary traditions from the past or from other cultures: can we explore this with an eye for new opportunities?
Latest on the Protein Challenge 2040:
Marmite: the poster-child for second-life proteins? // It’s time we changed our attitude towards food by-products. Seeing them as ingredients, not waste, has its advantages.
Asian appetisers for sustainable protein // How might culinary traditions in Asia help the West develop its appetite for more varied sources of protein?
Black Solider Fly Larvae: a key livestock for the 21st century // Grubs are upcycling nutrients for livestock feed, says RNA, Founder of Little Herds, offering a complete-protein alternative to water-intensive crops.