Trends towards 2050 predict a steady population increase to 9 billion people, forcing an increased food/feed output from available agro-ecosystems resulting in an even greater pressure on the environment. Scarcities of agricultural land, water, forest, fishery and biodiversity resources, as well as nutrients and non-renewable 
energy are foreseen. 

The Contribution of Insects to Food Security, Livelihoods and the Environment


Edible insects contain high quality protein, vitamins and amino acids for humans. Insects have a high food conversion rate, e.g. crickets need six times less feed than cattle, four times less than sheep, and twice less than pigs and broiler chickens to produce the same amount of protein. Besides, they emit less greenhouse gases and ammonia than conventional livestock. Insects can be grown on organic waste. Therefore, insects are a potential source for conventional production (mini-livestock) of protein, either for direct human consumption, or indirectly in recomposed foods (with extracted protein from insects); and as a protein source into feedstock mixtures.

Since 2003, FAO has been working on topics pertaining to edible insects in many countries worldwide. FAO ’s contributions cover the following thematic areas:

  • the generation and sharing of knowledge through publications, expert meetings and a web portal on edible insects;
  • awareness-raising on the role of insects through media collaboration (e.g. newspapers, magazines and TV);
  • the provision of support to member countries through field projects (e.g. the Laos Technical Cooperation Project);
  • networking and multidisciplinary interactions (e.g. stakeholders working with nutrition, feed and legislation-related issues) with various sectors within and outside FAO .


6 August 2014 A San Francisco startup company is hoping to get people hooked on high-protein foods made out of crickets. Bitty Foods makes and sells cricket flour – made from slow-roasted crickets that are milled and combined tapioca and cassava flour – along with cookies made with the cricket flour. [more]
16 July 2014 "Un grillo salverà il pianeta". Al Chimali, il X Congresso di chimica alimentare in svolgimento all'università di Firenze, sono stati presentati diversi progetti per contrastare la scarsità di risorse alimentari nel mondo. La [more]
BBC Future: Could insects feed the hungry world of tomorrow? 15 July 2014 The world is running out of resources to feed the animals we raise for food. As the human population rises, should we be making more of our meals from insects? [more]

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last updated:  Wednesday, May 28, 2014