Review: Recent advances in insect-based feeds: from animal farming to the acceptance of consumers and stakeholders

G. Sogari, S. Bellezza Oddon*, L. Gasco, A. van Huis, T. Spranghers, S. Mancini

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The search for new, alternative and sustainable feeding sources, including insects, has become an important challenge on the feed market. In 2017, the European Union (EU) started to allow the use of insect meals as feeds for fish. In addition, in 2021, the EU also authorised the use of insect meal for pig and poultry farming. However, the adoption of insect meal by the European aquaculture sector is still limited, and this is mostly due to the lack of availability of insects and their higher costs than conventional feed ingredients. Thus, the insect-based feed industry is still in its infancy, and its successful development and integration in the food value chain depend on several factors. Among these, the technical feasibility and production of quality products, and acceptance by European consumers and farmers are relevant factors. To address these points, this narrative review describes the state of the art of the potential role of insect-based feeds. The stakeholders’ and consumers’ perspectives are investigated, along with the effects of insect-based feeds on the production and nutritional values of fish, poultry (meat and eggs), and pork. Indeed, matching the nutritional values of insect products with conventional feeds is one of the future challenges of the insect sector, as their nutritional composition is highly dependent on the rearing substrates, and thus, their use in animal feeding needs to be investigated carefully. Feeding animals with insect-based diets affects their growth performances and the chemical composition of the derived products (fish fillets, meat, and eggs). Whether these effects can be considered positive or negative seems to depend to a great extent on the percentage of insects included in their diets and the chemical composition of the ingredients. The use of insect-based feeds has also shown a potential to improve the nutritional features and values of animal products and even to add new ones. Finally, many of the acceptance studies on the use of insects in feeds have focused mostly on the consumers’ perception rather than on industry stakeholders (e.g., farmers). Future research should focus more on the farmers’ perceptions on and market analyses of these innovative feeds. Even though it is likely that the upscaling of the insect sector will lead to a decrease in prices and an increase in market availability, it is still critical to understand the potential barriers and drivers for the implementation of insects as feeds from a production point of view.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100904
JournalAnimal
Volume17
Issue numbersuppl. 2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023

Keywords

  • Attitude
  • Black Soldier Fly
  • Nutritional value
  • Sustainability
  • Sustainable Development Goals

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