MIRABEL, Quebec – The Canadian government announced an investment of up to $210,970 toward research into the impacts of rearing conditions, diet and automated processing methods of insects used for food and feed. The funds were awarded to the Centre de recherche agroalimentaire de Mirabel (CRAM) under the federal Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program.

“The production of insects for human and animal consumption is a developing sector in Quebec and elsewhere in Canada,” said Caroline Provost, executive director, Centre de recherche en agroalimentaire de Mirabel. “This industry has immense potential, given the markets that are emerging and the low environmental impact of insect production.

“Nevertheless, a number of parameters still need to be determined to ensure production that is efficient and profitable and that meets the potential of this sector,” she added. “The objective of the project funded under the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program is to improve production processes, rearing diets and processing methods for four species with excellent gastronomic and nutritional potential.”

Market research firm Mintel found that 12 percent of Canadians expressed interest in trying insects (e.g. cricket powder) as an alternative to animal proteins.

“As demand for protein in foods outside of meat and other animal-based products grows, the spectrum of proteins that consumers are interested in, or at least willing to eat, appears to be broadening, with many citing interest in emerging ‘buzz-worthy’ proteins ranging from insects to algae,” said Joel Gregoire, associate director, Canada Food and Drink Reports, at Mintel.

Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, said the funding is needed to ensure that Canada can continue innovating while staying competitive and expanding into new markets. “This funding will contribute to the growing body of knowledge on insect rearing and production for food and feed and will help position Canada as a leader in this fast-growing sector,” Joly said.