Insects as food and feed: European perspectives on recent research and future priorities



Payne CLR, Dobermann D, Forkes A, House J, Josephs J, McBride A, Muller A, Quilliam R & Soares S (2016) Insects as food and feed: European perspectives on recent research and future priorities. Journal of Insects as Food and Feed, 2 (4), pp. 269-276.

This paper discusses the current state and priorities of Europe-based research on insects as food and feed, based on presentations at a workshop held in December 2015, and discussions that followed. We divide research into studies that focus on farming, health and nutrition, and those that prioritise psychological, social and political concerns. Edible insects are not necessarily universally beneficial. However, certain food insects can convert organic waste material, and provide nutrient-rich protein for humans and animals. Recent research is not concordant when trying to identify social and psychological barriers to insects as food in Europe, indicating the complexity of the issue of consumer acceptance. Innovative means of marketing insects as food include 3D printing, scientific comics, and the promotion of rural food culture in an urban setting. Edible insects are intimately connected to strong cultural and regional values, and their increasing commercialisation may empower and/or disenfranchise those who hold such values. We conclude with a discussion about the future priorities of edible insect research in Europe. We acknowledge the political nature of the ‘entomophagy’ movement. With legislative change, the insect food industry potential presents an opportunity to challenge the dynamics of current food systems. We identify the following priorities for future research: the need to better understand environmental impacts of insect procurement on both a regional and global scale, to investigate factors affecting the safety and quality of insect foods, to acknowledge the complexity of consumer acceptance, and to monitor the social and economic impacts of this growing industry.

Entomophagy; Food systems; Food security; Insect industry; Insect farming

Journal of Insects as Food and Feed: Volume 2, Issue 4

Publication date31/12/2016
Publication date online15/09/2016
Date accepted by journal30/05/2016
PublisherWageningen Academic Publishers

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Professor Richard Quilliam

Professor Richard Quilliam

Professor, Biological and Environmental Sciences