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Insect economics: Insect production could utilise global food waste to produce nutritionally better protein

By Nathan Gray+

28-Apr-2014
Last updated the 28-Apr-2014 at 15:43 GMT

The huge amounts of food and agricultural produce that end up as waste could be used to feed insects and produce high-quality animal protein that is better for environment, according to Professor Arnold van Huis.

Speaking to FoodNavigator at the recent Food Vision event in Cannes, the Dutch insect expert noted that from a nutritional standpoint 'insects are more or less comparable to livestock.'

"They are even a bit better, because they have more polyunsaturated fatty acids they common livestock," he added - noting that insects also generally contain more minerals and are much better for the environment than consuming more traditional sources of animal protein.

"Insects produce much less greenhouse gasses," said van Huis. "They are also very efficient in converting feed to edible weight."

Economic benefits?

However, the potential benefits of switching to insect protein are not just in the nutritional and environmental impact. There is a strong economic and business care for investigating the use of insects too:

"There are quite some economic benefits," he confirmed. "First of all you can rear the insects on organic waste streams .

"One third of our food, or our agricultural produce in the world, is wasted. We can grow insects on these waste streams and then end up with a high protein product."

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