In this paper, we have explored the possibility of substituting traditional meat products with an alternative source of protein (insects) in order to reduce human pressure on water. Insects, in fact, could represent a good alternative source of quality proteins and nutrients and they are already a very popular component of the diet of one third of the world’s population in approximately 80% of countries. In the study, we have taken into account only two species of edible insects (Tenebrio molitor
and Zophobas morio
mealworms), because they are already commercially produced even in Western countries, and for this reason it is possible to find specific data in literature about their diets. We have used the water footprint (WF) as a reliable indicator to calculate the volume of water required for production and to compare different products. The final aim of the work is, in fact, to evaluate the WF of the production of edible insects with a focus on water consumption associated with protein content, in order to make a comparison with other animal protein sources. We have demonstrated that, from a freshwater resource perspective, it is more efficient to obtain protein through mealworms rather than other traditional farmed animals.
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