Iceland Imports Six Hundred Kilos of Insects

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Iceland Imports Six Hundred Kilos of Insects

Greenhouse, Iceland

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

Icelanders imported almost 600 kilos (1,322 pounds) of live insects, excluding bees, in the first six months of this year, worth ISK 4.5 million, mostly from Belgium and the U.K. The insects are primarily used in greenhouses and to a lesser extent for experimental food production.

The main insect buyers are farmers, producing cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, flowers and leafy vegetables in greenhouses around Iceland, Viðskiptablaðið reports.

“Their role is to kill other insects. They cannot reproduce in Iceland because they are only kept inside greenhouses,” Ellert Þorgeirsson, director of sales at gardening center Garðheimar stated.

The insects are used instead of pesticides and make Icelandic greenhouse products chemical free.
 
Matís – Icelandic Food and Biotech, a government-owned, independent research company, imports and breeds insects to process biological waste, such as the larvae of the black soldier fly. The larvae are then used to fodder fish at aqua farms.  

Matís is now also using the larvae, which contain 60 percent protein and healthy fat, for experimental food production for human consumption.

“If you feed them tomatoes, they acquire an interesting tomato flavor,” stated manager of Matís’ business development division Ragnar Jóhannsson.

Matís is looking into whether the larvae can be fed with vegetables that cannot be sold in stores, and then whether the larvae could eventually be used for human consumption or for producing food supplements.

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