Dream up a daring solution to the world food problem. That was the assignment. And two Wageningen teams needed no further prompting.Their plan: eat more ‘microgame', aka insects. The queen was not convinced.
Four Wageningen students are part of a team competing in ‘The Battle of the Cheetahs', an ideas competition for young professionals run by the NCDO, a platform for citizenship and international cooperation. Farming and consuming insects is a sustainable alternative to our current food production system, says Sanne Bakker, team member and student of Nutrition and Health. ‘We get our cattle feeds from South America and we have a problem of excess manure here. Insects are much more efficient. You put 10 kilos of protein in and you get 9 kilos of food out: three times as efficient as pigs and six times as efficient as cows.' What is more, we in the Netherlands are already experimenting with insects as an alternative to meat, says Bakker. ‘The Netherlands could play a pioneering role.' There are already a few products, such as peanut butter and chocolate, which contain some insect matter. Bakker: ‘It would be nice if you could soon order a MacBugburger in McDonalds.'
Two weeks ago the teams got to present their ideas to the Dutch queen. ‘The ideas varied from combatting food waste to city farming. The queen found our idea the least appealing, haha.' But she did take the box of insect chocolates she was given home with her. ‘The nutty flavour of insects goes beautifully with chocolate. But the question is, of course, whether she will really eat them. Ruud Lubbers [Dutch elder statesman and former Prime Minister, ed] didn't dare to either.'
If Sanne's team wins, the participants will receive 25,000 euros as starting capital to implement their ideas.
You can vote for Sanne's team up until 1 March at www.battleofthecheetahs.nl