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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Developing a ‘high-quality’ insect-based protein burger

Rory Gough and David Mehaffey of New Levels Consultancy have a desire to “high-quality” insect-based protein burger.

The duo is targeting health-conscious and ethically motivated consumers in the UK and ROI.

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

Invest NI awarded New Levels Consultancy an innovation voucher to develop this concept with CAFRE.

More environmentally-friendly alternative to a traditional beef burger

New Levels Consultancy is primarily a manufacturing consultancy business in Northern Ireland.

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.

World Economic Forum has labelled alternative and novel proteins as one of the top 12 transformative technologies for the food system. Therefore, it is a surprise that New Levels Consultancy wanted to bring their concept to life.

With the help of CAFRE’s technologists, research was conducted to determine how forward this product is.

The brief was to “create a product that is a more environmentally-friendly alternative to a traditional beef burger”.

Insect-based protein burger

Consumer research found there was an openness to consuming such a product. Furthermore, a survey drilled down into the demographic of these panellists, the types of insect that would be most appealing, and the format in which it would be consumed.

CAFRE said: “Edible insects show great potential as an environmentally friendly choice for future food systems.”

“There are several beneficial aspects of utilising 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 has 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.”

Article compiled with information provided by CAFRE’s food technologist, Clare Campbell.

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