The Potential Role of Insects as Feed: A Multi-Perspective Review
Department of Food and Drug, University of Parma, 43124 Parma, Italy
Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA
Department of Political Sciences, University of Naples Federico II, 80138 Naples, Italy
Department of Agricultural, Forest, and Food Sciences, University of Turin, Grugliasco, 10124 Torino, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 March 2019
Revised: 20 March 2019
Accepted: 25 March 2019
Published: 27 March 2019
The consumption of meat and fish is growing, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to meet the growing demand for protein by farming on land and in water, causing serious repercussions for the planet’s resources, socio-economic development, and environmental sustainability. The search for new food solutions with good nutritional value for direct and indirect human consumption is of fundamental importance. The use of insects for feeding farmed animals represents a promising alternative because of the nutritional properties of insects and the possible environmental benefits, given the sustainability of this type of farming. Yet, there is a lack of consensus among western consumers. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to report and discuss previous consumer and stakeholder studies related to insects as feed, including the main market challenges for this novel source. The results show that, despite a sparse body of research, consumer acceptance will not be a barrier towards the development of the insect protein industry for feed. However, further research should shed light on consumer willingness to pay for animal products from animals fed with insects and whether the overall acceptability, in general and from a sensory point of view, will be perceived better than conventional products.