IPIFF unveils its roadmap for the next three years

The IPIFF executive committee acknowledged the need to advocate for the sector to be recognized as part of overarching EU policies.

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June 28, 2024

The International Platform of Insects for Food and Feed (IPIFF) held its first General Assembly meeting of the year on June 27, 2024.

The IPIFF constituents elected Adriana Casillas, CEO of Spain-based Tebrio, as president for the second three-year mandate in a row. During the General Assembly meeting, Frank van Sluis (Protix) was re-elected as first vice-president, Antoine Hubert (Ynsect) as second vice-president, and Heinrich Katz (Hermetia Baruth) as IPIFF treasurer of the EU-wide umbrella organization.

“I am thankful to the IPIFF Executive Committee, the IPIFF members and the Secretariat for putting their trust in me for another term as president. Together, we have achieved quite a few milestones over the years on the path to making Europe’s agriculture more resilient and sustainable. A primary goal during the upcoming term will be to position insect farming not only as the fastest-growing sustainable protein production industry but also as one that empowers farmers and nurtures regional development. Europe’s over-reliance on imported protein is an issue for businesses, farmers, and end-consumers, and our industry is a critical component of the solution to that,” said Adriana Casillas, IPIFF president.

The newly elected board unveiled its roadmap for the next three years. Focused on four main pillars, the “IPIFF association aims to create the conditions for the European insect industry to effectively contribute to the realization of the strategic goals of the European Union towards sustainable and circular food and feed supply chains,” said Christophe Derrien, IPFIF secretary-general.

Further efforts are needed to shape regulations applying to insect products. The IPIFF executive committee acknowledged the need to advocate for the sector to be recognized as part of overarching EU policies, such as the upcoming EU Protein Strategy, EU agricultural Policy, as well as regional and industrial policies.

Such recognition and associated funding mechanisms will be instrumental in unleashing the potential of the insect industry. During the high-level meeting, Sophie Delplancke (Innovafeed), Christian Bärtsch (Essento), Daniel Murta (EntoGreen) and Sébastien Crépieux (Invers) were appointed to the executive committee to support the achievement of these goals.

EU funding and financial support

The aforementioned topics were also the basis of a webinar organized by the IPIFF Secretariat the following day, on June 28. Titled Investing in Europe’s Agri-Future: EU funding opportunities for the insect farming sector, the online event targeted European insect-producing actors and partners from the insect value chain. The IPIFF webinar brought together senior representatives from the EU institutions, including Silvia Alvarez Santos from the European Commission (DG REGIO), Ana Ruiz from the Circular Bio-based Europe Joint Undertaking, and Ivan Stefanic from the European Innovation Council and SMEs Agency. European Commission agencies (e.g. European Innovation Council and SMEs Agency) as well as officers managing funding mechanisms established at the EU level.

The interlocutors presented and discussed, with fellow panelists, the diverse set of available EU funding and financial support mechanisms for small and medium-sized enterprises.

"Insect producers have passed a critical threshold with more than EUR 1.5 billion already invested in EU insect-producing companies so far. This, in turn, has contributed to the creation of thousands of green jobs in rural areas, as the sector currently employs over 3,500 people, at least 1,000 of whom are directly employed by insect-producing companies," said Antoine Hubert, IPIFF second vice-president.

As evidenced through a recent survey developed by the IPIFF Association, Hubert underlined that insect farming has become the fastest-growing sustainable protein production sector in the EU amongst other emerging industries in view of the number of production capacities built over the past ten years.

“This clearly shows that financial support for EU insect SMEs has paid off: We’re addressing European agriculture’s most pressing challenges, while we continue to create thousands of jobs across the Union,” added Hubert.

Strategic recognition

In conclusion, the IPIFF representatives stressed the need for insect farming activities to be recognized as a focal point in strategic EU key policy folders in the next mandate of the European Commission (2024-2029), notably to maximize its contribution towards achieving a decarbonized economy, while increasing the EU domestic protein production.

During the general assembly meeting, the IPIFF unveiled its Guide on good labeling practices for insect-based feed materials. Developed by the IPIFF secretariat, in collaboration with companies active in insect feed production, the guide aims to assist insect-producing companies in implementing the EU compulsory labeling obligations on animal feed.

“This practical guide aims to promote good labeling practices for insect-based feed materials while matching the specific requirements of the purchasers and users of the feed materials,” said Derrien.