Use of insect products in pig diets

T. Veldkamp*, A.G. Vernooij

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


This review is focusing on effects of inclusion of insect products in pig diets on digestibility, performance, product quality, and health parameters. In 2019 pig feed accounts for 23% of the global feed production. Soybean meal is the most common protein source in pig diets. A shift towards more sustainable feed ingredients can improve the sustainability of entire pig production. Novel protein sources currently evaluated in diets for piglets and growing pigs are insect-based ingredients. Insects are able to convert organic biomass into high-quality protein. Currently the use of insects as protein source in pig diets is not allowed due to transmissible spongiform encephalopathies regulation but it is expected that this will be allowed in the near future. Research efforts on effects of inclusion of insect products on nutrient digestibility, growth performance, product quality and pig health are therefore increasing. Nutrient digestibility of evaluated insect proteins was comparable with traditional protein sources. Nutrient digestibility of insect-based diets as well as effects on growth performance in pigs fed insect-based diets differed between studies. The differences in responses are mainly due to changes in diet ingredients and nutrient composition when insect products are included. Health related parameters were not affected by dietary inclusion of insect products. In general it can be stated that differences in results between studies may be due to different insect species and life stages being used, differences in nutritional value of the insect products, in dietary inclusion levels, in processing techniques applied, effects on palatability of the diet, (weaning) age of the animals involved and research methods applied. Overall, insect products seem to be a good alternative to partly replace traditional protein-rich ingredients in pig diets without adversely affecting growth performance, product quality and health, but more standardised research is required to reduce differences between studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)781-793
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Insects as Food and Feed
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 12 Feb 2021


  • animal health
  • digestibility and growth performance
  • feed
  • insect protein
  • pigs


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