Insects as food and feed: European perspectives on recent research and future priorities

Journal article


Payne, C, Doberman, D, Forkes, AD, House, J, Josephs, J, McBride, A, Mueller, A, Quilliam, R and Soares, S (2016). Insects as food and feed: European perspectives on recent research and future priorities. Journal of Insects as Food or Feed. 2 (4), pp. 269-276. https://doi.org/10.3920/JIFF2016.0011
AuthorsPayne, C, Doberman, D, Forkes, AD, House, J, Josephs, J, McBride, A, Mueller, A, Quilliam, R and Soares, S
Abstract

This paper discusses the current state and priorities of Europe-based research on insects as food and feed, based on presentations at a workshop held in December 2015, and discussions that followed. We divide research into studies that focus on farming, health and nutrition, and those that prioritise psychological, social and political concerns. Edible insects are not necessarily universally beneficial. However, certain food insects can convert organic waste material, and provide nutrient-rich protein for humans and animals. Recent research is not concordant when trying to identify social and psychological barriers to insects as food in Europe, indicating the complexity of the issue of consumer acceptance. Innovative means of marketing insects as food include 3D printing, scientific comics, and the promotion of rural food culture in an urban setting. Edible insects are intimately connected to strong cultural and regional values, and their increasing commercialisation may empower and/or disenfranchise those who hold such values. We conclude with a discussion about the future priorities of edible insect research in Europe. We acknowledge the political nature of the ‘entomophagy’ movement. With legislative change, the insect food industry potential presents an opportunity to challenge the dynamics of current food systems. We identify the following priorities for future research: the need to better understand environmental impacts of insect procurement on both a regional and global scale, to investigate factors affecting the safety and quality of insect foods, to acknowledge the complexity of consumer acceptance, and to monitor the social and economic impacts of this growing industry.

Year2016
JournalJournal of Insects as Food or Feed
Journal citation2 (4), pp. 269-276
PublisherWageningen Academic Publishers
ISSN2352-4588
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.3920/JIFF2016.0011
Funder/ClientEconomic and Social Research Council
Great British Sasakawa Foundation
BioBridge Ltd
Publication dates
Print15 Sep 2016
Publication process dates
Deposited11 Apr 2017
Accepted31 Mar 2016
Publisher's version
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Open
Accepted author manuscript
License
File Access Level
Controlled
Additional information

The authors would like to thank the Great British Sasakawa
Foundation and BioBridge Ltd for financial support; the
British Heart Foundation Centre on Population Approaches
for Non-communicable Disease Prevention (BHFCPNP)
and the Oxford Martin School for hosting and logistical
support; and all presenters and delegates who contributed
to the meeting, with particular thanks to Kenichi Nonaka
and Pete Scarborough, whose work opened and inspired the
meeting and this report. Jonas House’s research received
funding from the Economic and Social Research Council,
grant number ES/J500215/1.

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