Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Systems

Insects offer sustainable, nutritious food source

Edible insects are a healthy, efficient low-carbon food that is likely to become more accepted in Western diets, according to a report.

Insects offer a nutritious food source for humans, and are efficient and sustainable to produce, according to a report by a Global Academy researcher.

Consumption of insects is growing in popularity, and there are more than 2,000 edible varieties available, Dr Peter Alexander writes in The Conversation.

Insects’ high protein and mineral content helps to explain why they already feature in the diets of people in many parts of the world, Dr Alexander explains.

Efficient farming

Cultivated insects can convert their feed into energy more efficiently than conventional livestock animals, and a larger portion of the animal can be eaten, according to the report.

Insects also breed more frequently than most farmed animals, producing many generations in a year, and take up a relatively small land area.

They also offer the benefit of consuming feed from some by-products or food waste, contributing to a circular food system.

Dr Alexander suggests that insect consumption in Europe may become normalised.

The acceptability of foods can change over time. Tomatoes were regarded as poisonous in Britain and dismissed for over 200 years. Lobsters, now an expensive delicacy, were formerly so abundant in the US that they were served to workers and prisoners and were commonly used as fertiliser and fish bait.

Dr Peter AlexanderGlobal Academy of Agriculture and Food Systems

Related links

Eating insects can be good for the planet – The Conversation