This qualitative research focuses on risk management in the supply chain of industrial entomology companies that are mass-rearing insects for human food or for feed for farmed animals. This research presents answers to such questions as what are the risks related especially to the entomology industry, what are the reasons behind the risks, and finally how the risks can be mitigated. The industry has started to bloom only recently in the 2010's, meaning that the industry is still lacking knowledge based on historical data and scientific coverage of the field.
This research is one of the first in the world that identifies the supply chain risks associated especially with the large scale insect farming for human food and animal feed, and determines how the risk profile is formed. The novel nature of the industry reflects too many parts of the supply chain risk management. By the time of writing this research, the established networks and operators, together with standards and regulations, are still in the making. Even the biggest companies in the market are still only planning their large farming facilities.
Risks like fluctuations of feed raw material prices are in common with traditional farming, but the main risks that insect farms are facing are related to the health of the animals. The knowledge of pathogens and parasites of insects is very limited. As the nature of the health risks is unknown, the mitigation must be based on precautions and preventive actions.
What is alarming for the companies operating in the field is that even a well-managed risk control cannot give high level of security simply because of the lack of knowledge. The industry will continue growing globally. When the industry gets an established foothold and the production and supply chain functions get standardized, the risk management can reach an acceptable level.
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- Ilkka Taponen