Student’s plans could combat future food shortage

Smart technology appliance to cook food of the future - insects

A University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) student has come up with a new way of tackling a future food shortage, through the creation of a new product concept to prepare an unusual group of ingredients.

Binger Yu, a student from China’s Jiangsu Province, was inspired by cultural differences between her home country and the UK to create the final project as part of her degree in product design from the University.

It sees insects, such as crickets and spiders, introduced as a main food source and outlines how they would become a staple food prepared and cooked at home using a new appliance dependent on the future development of smart technology.

The 23-year-old was inspired to create the design as statistics suggest the world’s population will reach nine billion by the year 2050, with issues including climate change, water shortages and overfishing resulting in a depletion of food stores and the resources required to increase production.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), there are more than 1,900 types of edible insects in the world and at least two billion people incorporate them in their traditional food. Many species, such as crickets, are found to be high in protein, vitamins, minerals and fibre.

There are many nutritional benefits to eating insects, and it’s something that would have a big impact on the environment and help to combat the many issues the world faces. That’s where the concept of my product came from

Binger said: “As the only international student on my course, it’s been interesting gathering my classmates and tutors’ thoughts on eating insects because in the UK, it’s something people find quite unusual and perhaps even disgusting. Many people might not realise that they can be delicious!

“There are many nutritional benefits to eating insects, and it’s something that would have a big impact on the environment and help to combat the many issues the world faces. That’s where the concept of my product came from.

“For example, insect farming would rely on organic fertiliser to reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

“I’ve really enjoyed studying at UCLan and living in Preston – it’s great to be in a City where the cost of living isn’t too expensive and it’s very convenient.”

After graduation, Binger hopes to go on to study a Master’s Degree in Product Design and continue her passion for the subject.

Binger’s design will be on display at UCLan’s Preston campus from 14-23 June as part of the University’s Degree Shows, a showcase of the work of more than 450 final year undergraduate students across a variety of disciplines within the Faculty of Culture and the Creative Industries.

The Degree Shows are open daily with work on display in five buildings. More information is available on the UCLan Degree Shows website and people can also keep up with events by following #UCLanDegreeShows on Twitter.  For more information, email uclandegreeshows@uclan.ac.uk.

Press Office | 17 June 2019