The traditional consumption of edible insects is common in one third of the world's population, mostly in Latin America, Africa and Asia. There are over one thousand identified species of insects eaten in some stage of their life cycle; and they play important roles in ensuring food security. The most common way to collect insects are from the wild, which is seasonal with limited availability and has an increasing demand resulting in a disruption to the ecosystem. There is a growing interest shown in rearing insects for commercial purposes, and an industrial scale production will be required to ensure steady supplies. Industrial production will need to take into account the living environment of insects, the nutritional composition of their feed and the overall efficiency of the production system. We provide a short overview on the consumption of and rearing insects in Africa, Asia and Europe. For Africa, a snapshot is given for Nigeria, Ghana, Central African Republic, Kenya and Uganda, while the following countries are reported for Asia: China, Japan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Thailand and Vietnam. In addition, a list of insect species with the highest potential for food and feed in the European Union is provided with some reference to The Netherlands and Finland. The review concludes that there is need to better understand the rearing and farming procedures that will yield high quality edible insects in Africa, Asia and Europe.
Field of science
- Food science