Special Issue "Edible Insects and Global Food Security"

A special issue of Insects (ISSN 2075-4450). This special issue belongs to the section "Insect and Human Societies".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 28 February 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Fabio Verneau
Website SciProfiles
Guest Editor
Department of Political Science, University of Naples Federico II, Via Rodinò, 22, 80138 Napoli, Italy
Interests: Food marketing; Sustainable food consumptions; experimental auction
Dr. Francesco La Barbera
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Political Science – University of Naples Federico II, Naples, Italy
Interests: Food Psychology, Attitudes, Consumer Behavior
Dr. Mario Amato
Website SciProfiles
Guest Editor
Department of Political Science – University of Naples Federico II, Naples, Italy
Interests: Consumer Behavior; Sustainable food consumptions; experimental auctions

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Continuing population growth and profound changes in dietary patterns, often characterized by Westernization processes especially in East and Southeast Asian countries, are going to generate considerable pressure on the world's supply of animal protein. Therefore, the need to meet the rising protein demand, which is estimated to increase sharply over the next 20 years, is a global challenge. This challenge is made more complex by the need to support the growth of the market for animal proteins, while considering social and environmental issues, which are at the core of sustainability as well.

Over the last decade, a number of studies have been carried out on edible insects and their utilization, and we now possess a considerable amount of information: insects are nutritious, consist of valuable protein and easily digestible fatty acids, and contain important minerals and vitamins, and recommendations exist regarding how to breed the most lucrative species optimally, both for human and animal consumption. We also know that consumers’ attitudes towards insect-based foods are generally quite unfavorable. However, there are still gaps in our knowledge that must be filled.

This Special Issue welcomes papers dealing with insects as an alternative source of protein for food and feed. The acceptance of entomophagy, for example, is a timely topic with several important questions still unanswered, both from consumers’ and stakeholders’ perspectives; other topics of interest include the production of protein extracts to supplement diet and combat malnutrition; the environmental and economic impact of insect utilization; and the production of protein-intensive feed.

We hope that this Special Issue will stimulate an inspiring and broad discussion on the proposed topics.

Dr. Fabio Verneau
Dr. Francesco La Barbera
Dr. Mario Amato
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Insects is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • insects
  • entomophagy
  • consumers’ attitudes
  • food consumption sustainability
  • food security
  • innovative feeds
  • alternative sources of protein
  • global demand for protein

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Assessing the Role of Food Related Lifestyle in Predicting Intention towards Edible Insects
Insects 2020, 11(10), 660; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11100660 - 25 Sep 2020
Abstract
Although recent literature has shown that switching to an insect-based diet could provide several relevant advantages—from a nutritional, environmental, economic and ecological point of view—the potential growth of insects as everyday food is still unclear. Despite a growing literature on consumer acceptance and [...] Read more.
Although recent literature has shown that switching to an insect-based diet could provide several relevant advantages—from a nutritional, environmental, economic and ecological point of view—the potential growth of insects as everyday food is still unclear. Despite a growing literature on consumer acceptance and product preference for insect-based food, a segmentation of this future and possible market has never been proposed. Therefore, in the present paper, a market segmentation based on the Food Related Lifestyle Scale (FRLS), was performed in order to predict consumers’ willingness to eat (WTE) edible insects. Moreover, the role of perceived behavioural control is taken into account. Results shows that the novelty and benefits of insect consumption have generated much interest in edible insects amongst consumers belonging to the Rational cluster, who showed the highest intention to introduce insects in their diet, thus confirming the presence of a niche of “early adopters”. In addition, perceived behavioural control was the major driver of intention. Implications for attempts to encourage people to incorporate insect-based foods into their diet are discussed, with special reference to the role of marketing campaigns. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Edible Insects and Global Food Security)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Social Representations of Insects as Food: An Explorative-Comparative Study among Millennials and X-Generation Consumers
Insects 2020, 11(10), 656; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11100656 - 24 Sep 2020
Abstract
The aim of the research here presented is to describe and compare the social representations of entomophagy co-constructed and circulating among different groups of consumers. Social representations theory (SRT) allows us to understand a social reality that the individual builds based on his [...] Read more.
The aim of the research here presented is to describe and compare the social representations of entomophagy co-constructed and circulating among different groups of consumers. Social representations theory (SRT) allows us to understand a social reality that the individual builds based on his own experience in everyday life symbolic exchanges, whose primary function is to adapt concepts and abstract ideas using objectification and anchoring processes. We carried out this research within the structural approach methodological framework. We explored the structure (central core and peripheral schemes) and the content (information, opinions, attitudes, and beliefs) of the social representations of entomophagy by using mixed methodological strategies (hierarchized evocations, validated scales, check-list, projective tool, open-ended questions). Data were processed employing different R packages. The main results show an essential role played by generative processes (objectification and anchoring) as well as cognitive polyphasia and thémata in the co-construction of the social representations of entomophagy. Data could help in understanding the sensory characteristics of “insects as food” that should be used or avoided, for example, in communication aimed to promote entomophagy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Edible Insects and Global Food Security)
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Open AccessArticle
From a Food Safety Prospective: The Role of Earthworms as Food and Feed in Assuring Food Security and in Valuing Food Waste
Insects 2020, 11(5), 293; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11050293 - 11 May 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The Sustainable Development Goals are a set of global goals that provide a framework for shared action. These goals also include the reduction of food waste and the definition of sustainable solutions to achieve food security. In this context, the aim of the [...] Read more.
The Sustainable Development Goals are a set of global goals that provide a framework for shared action. These goals also include the reduction of food waste and the definition of sustainable solutions to achieve food security. In this context, the aim of the study was to describe all phases of a pilot earthworm rearing project started in September 2017 and concluded in December 2017, together with a risk analysis carried out in order to evaluate if earthworms can represent a safe and sustainable protein source for human consumption and/or animal nutrition. The conversion rate, that in this study is more appropriately identified as the “waste reduction efficiency,” was also calculated in order to define the extent to which earthworm rearing can contribute to the objective of reducing fruit and vegetable waste (FVW). The results showed that earthworms can bio-convert 3750 kg of FVW in three months producing 1050 kg of compost and 82 kg of fresh earthworms with minimal environmental impact showing good waste reduction efficiency. Moreover, the risk analysis conducted on earthworm rearing highlighted a microbiological hazard after the freeze-drying phase. The critical control point was therefore identified, and, in order to guarantee the total food safety of the finished product, corrective action was taken consisting in the implementation of heat treatment—sterilization at 121 °C for 20 min. The results of microbiological analyses carried out on the earthworm meal after the sterilization treatment showed that the treatment guarantees microbiological safety for the consumer and ensures a balanced approach in relation to two main topics—public health and food-borne diseases. In conclusion, earthworm meal is a concentrate of valuable nutrients useful for human and animal nutrition and can also transform fruit and vegetable waste into a resource. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Edible Insects and Global Food Security)
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