Eating Insects

Overall, entomophagy can be promoted for three reasons:

Health
  • Insects are healthy, nutritious alternatives to mainstream staples such as chicken, pork, beef and even fish.
  • Many insects are rich in protein and good fats and high in calcium, iron and zinc.
  • Insects already form a traditional part of many regional and national diets.
Environmental
  • Insects promoted as food emit considerably fewer greenhouse gases (GHGs) than most livestock (methane, for instance, is produced by only a few insect groups including cockroaches).
  • Insect rearing is not necessarily a land-based activity and does not require land clearing to expand production. Feed is the major requirement for land.
  • The ammonia emissions associated with insect rearing are also far lower than those linked to conventional livestock, such as pigs.
  • Because they are cold-blooded, insects are very efficient at converting feed into protein (crickets, for example, need 12 times less feed than cattle, four times less feed than sheep, and half as much feed as pigs and broiler chickens to produce the same amount of protein).
  • Insects can be fed on organic waste streams.
Livelihoods
  • Insect harvesting/rearing is a low-tech, low-capital investment option that offers entry even to the poorest sections of society.
  • Minilivestock offer livelihood opportunities for both urban and rural people.
  • Insect rearing can be low-tech or very sophisticated, depending on the level of investment.

For the most comprehensive and up-to-date information click on the image below to view the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations report:

‘Edible Insects: Future prospects for food and feed security’