Scientists in Wales are among those researching the potential of insects as a source of animal feed.
Businesses are offered vouchers worth up to €40,000 for their help developing the insect feed business as part of the European-funded project.
The international research collaboration, which is called ‘ValuSect’, aims to improve the production and processing of insect-based products.
Previously, the project has looked into crickets, grasshoppers and yellow mealworms as human food.
However, in the next step, scientists at the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) at Aberystwyth University will focus on the emission of greenhouse gasses, the impact of substrates, food safety and on the shelf life of insect-based food products.
The additional funding will also see the black soldier fly species (Hermetia Illucens) added to the research menu and extends the work to look at using insect products in animal feed.
Prof. Alison Kingston-Smith, who leads the ValuSect research at Aberystwyth University, said: “This grant is an excellent boost for the project.
"Insects have a lot of potential as a food source for both people and animals. With a rising global population, the world needs more sources of sustainable food.
“This project is a great chance for the Welsh agriculture and food sector to diversify into new markets. There’s no doubt that insect protein is an increasing focus in the food sector, and our researchers will be part of those exciting developments.”
The findings will be shared with food and agriculture businesses across northern Europe.
The global insect feed market is expected to be worth €736 million by 2026.