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Students assemble! UKEIA welcomes newest team member

At UKEIA we have welcomed our newest team member, 22 year old Noel Maynard, a student of Statistics and Sociology at Sheffield University.

Until 2023, we were a Community Interest Company (CIC) known as Woven - basically a band of bug enthusiasts bound together by a passion for all things entomology. Although we offered support to businesses investigating and investing in insect protein, we were not an official Trade Association, until Brexit shifted the edible insect industry.

Action was necessary as a collective due to the passing of the Novel Food Act in 2018. Novel food, by the way, is defined as ‘food that had not been consumed to a significant degree by humans in the EU, prior to 15 May 1997’. These changes meant that we had to switch gears and become an official representative trade body, working together with members to create dossiers for the UK Food Standards Agency, that applied for the right for businesses in Britain to continue trading in certain kinds of insect protein. While those irons remain in the fire - we await progress on four insects with baited breath - we’re still working on our other aims.

We want to become a leading voice in the sector - providing guidance, support and networking opportunities to anyone with a passion in the field - be that entrepreneurs, researchers or simply those keen to do their bit for adventurous or sustainable eating - and that’s where our brilliant volunteers come into the picture.

About to head into his third year, Quantitative Social Sciences student Noel will take up the challenge of increasing student interest in UKEIA’s activities. He said: “I’m passionate about making life more sustainable and I feel that we all need to start making personal changes that will help humanity in the future. One of the most problematic areas is food production and the waste within that system. I can see that the topic of using insects as a food source for both humans and animals - and the prospective research that’s needed in order for us to do so on a large scale - offers huge potential for students like me.

“Anyone studying Geography, Sustainability, Food Sciences, Business - and quite possibly many other combinations of those subjects should jump on this bandwagon as soon as they can in my opinion! Why not get in at the ground floor and be one of the first people to make these exciting developments happen? I certainly plan to be involved myself. I can’t wait to get out there and start meeting the members of UKEIA and sampling their products or perhaps even seeing how their farms run.”

Noel is keen to hear from university departments, colleges or even schools that might be interested in learning more about UKEIA and its planned research activities and educational outreach. He also welcomes contact from individual students with an interest in eating insects, sustainable farming, insects in pet food, insects as a protein source, cooking with insects or any kind of entomological research. He will also be developing resources that any keen ‘ento-preneur’ could use to inform others about insect protein and welcomes suggestions for ideas that could be included.

For more information or to get in touch, drop him a line on Anyone who signs up to the UKEIA newsletter before 31 July 2024 will be entered into a prize draw to win an insect goody taster pack worth £14.99 rrp.

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