About one-third of the food produced annually worldwide ends up as waste. A minor part of this waste is used for biofuel and compost production, but most is landfilled, causing environmental damage. Mass production of edible insects for human food and livestock feed seems a sustainable solution to meet demand for animal-based protein, which is expected to increase due to rapid global population growth. The aim of this review was to compile up-to-date information on mass rearing of edible insects for food and feed based on food wastes. The use and the potential role of the fermentation process in edible insect mass production and the potential impact of this rearing process in achieving an environmentally friendly and sustainable food industry was also assessed. Food waste comprises a huge nutrient stock that could be valorized to feed nutritionally flexible edible insects. Artificial diets based on food by-products for black soldier fly, house fly, mealworm, and house cricket mass production have already been tested with promising results. The use of fermentation and fermentation by-products can contribute to this process and future research is proposed towards this direction. Part of the sustainability of the food sector could be based on the valorization of food waste for edible insect mass production. Further research on functional properties of reared edible insects, standardization of edible insects rearing techniques, safety control aspects, and life cycle assessments is needed for an insect-based food industry.
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