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Team inVALUABLE

Challenge: How can we generate new and sustainable sources of high-quality food with protein from insects to meet the future protein demand?

Team inVALUABLE
The team was composed of five students who were given five different roles: Marketing/sales, Business Developer, Food Scientist, Nutritionist and Researcher/journalist. The roles represented the students’ academic or professional competences, and each student was asked to do a personality test before arriving in Aarhus, in order to compose a strong and complimentary team.

Kate Terry, from America, was the team’s marketing/sales role. She was very pleased with the innovative and creative thinking the challenge brought: “I was excited to join Team inVALUABLE because our challenge not only required creativity and business savvy – it required truly innovative thinking. We had to push the envelope to come up with mealworm-based foods that would not only be tasty to a few consumers, but would fit into a larger market strategy that envisions insects as an important, sustainable food group in Western diets.”

Kate was also very happy with her team composition and the company representatives: “My teammates were amazing at bringing together food science, business development, creativity, and fun. The professionals at inVALUABLE are passionate and enthusiastic about what they do, so we had a great time learning from and working with them.”

The solution
After three days of hard work on Aarhus University the five students came up with a multi-level solution to inVALUABLE’s challenge.

“We developed a suite of ‘on-the-go’ products that would suit our ideal consumer—the ‘conscious’ family with children—in the short term and, in the long term, would be familiar enough to reach a wider market of families, especially as children grow up eating insects.”, tells Kate Terry.

The products mentioned were e.g. breakfast bug granola, as a topping for yogurt, and a bug-bar to eat on the go. The team even incorporated a business plan on how to bring this product to the market as a B2B supplier. They called the production company “In.Gredient”, and it would be supplying regionally processed insect proteins and good karma to EU food manufacturers and distributers.

Also Lars-Henrik Lau Heckmann, Technology Manager, Danish Technological Institute and Scientific project lead of inVALUABLE is pleased with the conference, the students’ work and the solution to their challenge: ”InnovateFood has been a most fruitful event and concept for strengthening relevant work packages in the inVALUABLE project. It facilitated a focused effort on identifying the most likely route for mealworm-based foods to a targeted consumer segment both short- and long-term; particularly through the intense work and valuable output provided by the student team that took on the challenge. It has been inspirational to participate and get a ‘naive’ perspective from the student team, the expert speakers and the audience that attended the inVALUABLE session.”