The Wageningen University and Research Centre and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is kindly inviting you to participate in a Conference on Insects to Feed the World, held May 14 – 17, 2014 in Ede, Netherlands at the Hotel Reehorst.
The Potential of insects as human food and animal feed is assuring food security. The overall objective of the conference is to promote the use of insects as human food and as animal feed in assuring food security.
FAO estimates that the world needs to increase its food production by 70 percent by 2050 in order to serve a global population of nine billion. Animal feed production is increasingly competing for resources (land, water and fertilizer) with human food and fuel production, urbanization and nature. Seventy percent of the world’s agricultural land is already directly or indirectly dedicated to meat production. With a growing world population and increasingly demanding consumers, can we still produce sufficient animal protein in the future? Urgently we need to identify alternative protein sources, and insects have great potential in contributing to global food security.
Aims of the Conference
Specifically we would like to:
- Get an overview of the current status of insects as food and feed.
- Identify constraints in the development of insect food/feed sector (e.g. legislation).
- Promote interactions among stakeholders in the insect value chain.
- Formulate recommendations to increase the impact of using insects as a food and feed source.
- Contribute to standardizing methodologies for analysing nutritional composition of insects.
- Promote gathering (inter)national data on the production and trade of edible insects.
- Establish (inter)disciplinary networks among relevant partners.
- Create global awareness of this neglected food & feed source.
More than 1900 species of insects are eaten worldwide, mainly in tropical countries. There are a number of advantages of using insects as protein source above livestock products, among which:
- insect being cold-blooded, converting feed much more efficiently into edible product
- emitting less greenhouse gases and ammonia than conventional livestock
- requiring less space to produce protein
Nutritionally, edible insects constitute high quality food for humans, and feed for livestock, poultry and fish.
Increasing expensive feed ingredients such as fishmeal, soymeal and grains can easily be substituted by insect meal. Larvae and pupae of Black Soldier Flies, House flies and Yellow mealworms are good candidates while at the same time these insects can transform organic waste into high quality protein products. Bio-regeneration of waste would solve an environmental problem considering that globally one third of our food is not used. In tropical countries most insects are collected from nature, but can we continue to harvest them sustainably? Or to satisfy demands worldwide, do we need to farm insects as mini-livestock? The feed industry may want to change their current protein ingredients with insect meal, but then they need to be produced in large-scale automated mass-rearing facilities that produce a stable, reliable, and safe product.
Because insects until recently were not considered as feed or food in the western world, legislation needs to be developed and food safety issues addressed. Consumer acceptability is not just about perceived environment benefits and price, but gastronomically interesting products need to be developed.
Insects have the potential of becoming an important new food and feed item both in tropical and western countries, but this requires close collaboration between public and private partners and R&D organizations. We may be at the brink of the emergence of a new food/feed chain and a new sector of insects as food and feed.
To fully realize this potential, much work still needs to be done by a wide range of stakeholders involved in the insect value chain, both from the public and private sector. First we need an overview of the current status of insects as food and feed. Second we need to discuss the way forward with representatives from the academic world, governmental bodies, private companies (insect rearing, feedstock, and catering), and international organizations. In this way we hope to be able to contribute to the use of insects as food and feed worldwide.
It is also possible to present a manuscript to be published in a special edited volume or in a special issue of a journal (still to be decided). The key note speakers will also contribute to this special edited volume of special issue, which will be published by Wageningen Academic Publishers. The editorial board will decide whether your manuscript would qualify to be included. Download the guidelines for authors Insects to feed the world.