Lars-Henrik Heckmann is Technology manager and leader of the insect production group at the Danish Technological Institute (DTI). Lars has a strong academic background in biology (ecology, entomology, ecotoxicology and molecular biology) and holds a PhD from University of Reading (2007) and a MSc from Aarhus University (2003). He has extensive R&D experience based on participation in and coordination of numerous national and international projects; and has published over 30 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters.
Through employment in the biotechnology industry (2010-2014), Lars has acquired detailed business understanding as well as practical experience in regulatory affairs. Since 2014, he has been the main driver of building an innovation chain at DTI focusing on insects as feed and food; with the current portfolio covering commercial activities and several R&D projects on insect production, focusing on black solider flies and mealworms, as well as development of various insect-based products for feed and food. Currently, one of the main projects at DTI is inVALUABLE (Insect Value Chain in a Circular Bioeconomy), which is running from 2017-2019 and has a total budget of 3.7M EUR. The project focuses on industrial mealworm production and includes 11 partners from the entire value chain.
Since 2014, where The Netherlands and Belgium opened up for marketing of insects as food, there has been an array of insect-based food products that have been place on the European market; albeit primarily in Northern and Northwestern EU member states. Globally, there has also been a lot of traction, particularly in Northern America. Currently, the global food market for insect-based products is growing >40% annually with an estimated value of more than 400 mill. EUR/year in 2023. In this presentation examples of insect-based food products ‘palatable’ to consumers will be discussed; highlighting some of the different features such as health, nutrition and sustainability that appeal to modern consumers. Examples from food innovation will likewise be presented with main input from the inVALUABLE project; one of the largest ongoing publicly-funded R&D projects on insects as food focusing on production and development of mealworm-based food products.l?