5 environmental benefits of eating insects
The use of insects as food and feed has many environmental, health and social/livelihood benefits.
- Insects have a high feed conversion efficiency because they are cold-blooded. Feed-to-meat conversion rates (how much feed is needed to produce a 1 kg increase in weight) vary widely depending on the class of the animal and the production practices used, but nonetheless insects are extremely efficient. On average, insects can convert 2 kg of feed into 1 kg of insect mass, whereas cattle require 8 kg of feed to produce 1 kg of body weight gain.
- The production of greenhouse gases by most insects is likely to be lower than that of conventional livestock. For example, pigs produce 10–100 times more greenhouse gases per kg of weight than mealworms.
- Insects can feed on bio-waste, such as food and human waste, compost and animal slurry, and can transform this into high-quality protein that can be used for animal feed.
- Insects use significantly less water than conventional livestock. Mealworms, for example, are more drought-resistant than cattle.
- Insect farming is less land-dependent than conventional livestock farming.
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Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
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