The global feed market currently consists of fishmeal, fish oil, soybeans, and other grains. Rising prices, controversial fishing practices, unsustainable farming methods, and reliance on feed from abroad are all putting pressure on farmers, feed manufacturers, and the pet food industry to develop alternative feed sources.


•Whole insects to be consumed alone or as an ingredient
•Insects ground into flour/paste for use in food production
•Protein/oil/nutrient extraction

Insects are common in the diets of many people in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Depending on the species, they can be high in protein, amino acids, fat, fiber, minerals such as iron, zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, and B1 (thiamine) and B2 (riboflavin) vitamins. Insects are far more efficient in feed-to-meat conversion than traditional livestock. Crickets, for example, are twice as efficient as chickens, four times more efficient than pigs, and twelve times more efficient than cattle at converting 1 kg of feed into animal weight (van Huis, 2013).


•Antibacterial properties

Chitin is a polysaccharide found in insect exoskeletons, crustaceans, and fungi, but it is not found in mammals. Chitin and chitosan (derivative) are known for their anti-viral and anti-tumor properties, and are now being studied for possible positive immunological effects.


•Human food waste
•Fish waste
•Human waste/Animal manure

Companies in South Africa, Canada, and the United States are currently rearing insects on organic waste streams. The black soldier fly and the yellow mealworm are especially effective at converting biowaste. Insects intended for human consumption or for feed to animals intended for human consumption will likely be required to be reared on food-grade waste. Studies involving insects in safe and effective waste management practices are ongoing.


•Dyes (e.g., cochineal/carmine)
•Insect oils as biodiesel

Cochineal extract from the scale insect Dactylopius coccus is a widely used red dye found in food products and lipstick. Research is being conducted concerning the use of insects in a variety of applications.

Eric Michels: +31 (0) 6 57320516

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