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Taking Food to a New Level

May 6, 2021

The College of Agriculture Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) and Invest NI work in partnership to help entrepreneurs and innovative individuals to make an idea a reality. 

Rory Gough and David Mehaffey of New Levels Consultancy wanted to create a high-quality insect-based-protein burger targeted at health conscious and ethically motivated consumers in the UK and ROI. Invest NI awarded them an Innovation Voucher to develop this concept with CAFRE.  New Levels Consultancy is primarily a manufacturing consultancy business in Northern Ireland and the development of this product with CAFRE will expand their current business from a manufacturing Consultancy based company into a profitable innovative food manufacturing business supplying domestic and export markets which will create local jobs.

Clare Campbell, CAFRE Food Technologist, Loughry Campus
Clare Campbell, CAFRE Food Technologist, Loughry Campus

Alternative and novel proteins have been labelled as one of the top 12 transformative technologies for the food system by the World Economic Forum so it is no surprise that New Levels Consultancy wanted to bring their concept to life. With the help of CAFRE technologist’s research was carried out to determine the way forward with this product. The brief was to create a product that is a more environmentally friendly alternative to a traditional beef burger. Consumer research found there was an openness to consuming such a product and a survey drilled down in to the demographic of these panellists and into the types of insect that would be most appealing, as well as the format in which it would be consumed.

Edible insects show great potential as an environmentally friendly choice for future food systems. There are several beneficial aspects of utilizing insects as a sustainable food source including their high nutritional content. There is a huge focus in today’s society on increased protein consumption and much is being done to find more sustainable environmentally friendly forms of protein and to promote the use of novel ingredients. New Levels Consultancy have this at the heart of their concept and through CAFRE’s expertise, resources and the product development process,  have selected a suitable plant based protein to accompany the insect protein in creating, from sustainable sources, a high quality burger that has a high protein content thereby appealing to environmentally aware individuals.

If you are interested in developing a product with CAFRE, the Knowledge Advisory Team at CAFRE’s Loughry Campus can work with you – please contact loughry.foodtechnology@daera-ni.gov.uk. Follow us at Discover CAFRE on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter