Research Projects


Leocardia Ranga

Current PhD Student

Exploring ways to incorporate insects into the food supply chain: a study from farm-to-fork

Research Project Summary:

There is a growing demand for sustainable food sources due to the increasing population worldwide. Insects could provide a sustainable source of protein, when used as feed for certain animals or food for people. However, there is still resistance in the acceptance of insects in the diet of people in the Western world.  

The aim of this project is to explore the factors affecting the acceptability of insects in the diet of Irish consumers and how these can be incorporated into food products starting from farm to fork. This project combines food chemistry, food processing, product development, and sensory and consumer science.


Leocardia Ranga graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Consumer Science: Food and Nutrition from Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), in 2014. She worked as a food technologist at AGRANA Fruit, Cape Town, South Africa. From there she worked as a quality control manager at the Western Cape Province Caterers, a branch that is responsible for providing catering services to hospital patients. In 2016, she completed her Master of Technology (MTech) degree in Consumer Science: Food and Nutrition Cum Laude at CPUT. Her MTech was 100% research based and her project was titled ‘Association between dietary fat knowledge and consumption of foods rich in fat among first-year students in self-catering residence at a university of technology, Cape Town, South Africa’. She started her PhD at IT Sligo in October 2021. She took a personal interest in this PhD project because insects have always been a special part of her cuisine growing up coupled with the fact that her research interest has always been in the field of human nutrition, food security and product development.   


Ranga, L. & Venter, I. 2017. The association between dietary fat knowledge and consumption of foods rich in fat among black first-year students in a South African university self-catering residences. Journal of Consumer Sciences, 2:95-112.