Dr Arnold Van Huis & Royal Entomological Society

On April 26th & 27th, the Royal Entomological Society opened the annual Insects As Food and Feed convention at the Natural History Museum. HOP was at the convention which discussed key features within the edible insect community and how, through vital research, the world of entomology is broadening its horizons.


World renowned emeritus professor at Wageningen University, Dr Arnold Van Huis, started the first day the IAFF convention in telling the audience that “We are currently in a resistant market… yet the tides are turning and edible insects are becoming more widely accepted all whilst insects are becoming a major player in how we feed the world population.


As insects expand into our everyday society, Dr Arnold Van Huis explained that through vital research, “90% of all publications within the edible insect community have all been done in the last 5 years, and with this in mind, it showcases to us that there has been tremendous academic interest within edible insects.”


Undoubtedly, insects play an integral part in our ecosystem and through new research stemming from 2017 to the present day, it has been discovered that there aremore than 2300 species of 18 orders that have been reported as edible insects”, however, despite there being 2300 edible insect species, we are still facing a dilemma within the world which stems to the global meat production industry which is now becoming unsustainable.

Dr Arnold Van Huis highlighted that “meat demand will increase by 76% but the area occupied by livestock already is 80% so if we look at the increase in demand and the area used for livestock already, we can denote that this cannot continue….”







With alternative solutions like that of edible insect products being proposed, tremendous progress is being made daily through new innovative products which allows us to implement edible insects in our everyday diets. In a recent publication by Dr Arnold Van Huis, he said Edible insects are not only a good source of nutrients but also seem to provide health benefits not only for humans and animals, but also for plants (left over substrate). The challenge of convincing Western consumers is reviewed and whether sustainability is an issue….the sector of insects as food and feed is developing fast thanks to an increasingly conducive legislative framework. It will progress further, provided that the insect industry, academia, governmental organisations, and public society closely cooperate.”







Ultimately, insects play an important role in the future of sustainable agriculture and food security and through annual conventions like that of the IAFF, scientific findings are able to be brought to light and showcased to those within the entomology field but also to the wider community and the public. Through years of dedication from professors like that of Dr Arnold Van Huis, we are now able to pave the way forward in creating an understanding of edible insects in order to apply sustainable solutions for our expanding society.





Reference:

A. van Huis, A. Halloran, J. Van Itterbeeck, H. Klunder and P. Vantomme,

January 2022, How many people on our planet eat insects: 2 billion?, https://www.wageningenacademic.com/doi/epdf/10.3920/JIFF2021.x010


A. van Huis, Global warming potential, land use (Oonincx & De Boer 2012) and water use (Miglietta et al. 2015) due to the production of one kg of edible protein, https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Global-warming-potential-land-use-Oonincx-De-Boer-2012-and-water-use-Miglietta-et_fig2_360037209


​​Tang, C., Yang, D., Liao, H. et al. Edible insects as a food source: a review. Food Prod Process and Nutr 1, 8 (2019). Edible insects as a food source: a review


Jonegma, Y (2017), Worldwide list of recorded edible insects, https://www.wur.nl/upload_mm/8/a/6/0fdfc700-3929-4a74-8b69-f02fd35a1696_Worldwide%20list%20of%20edible%20insects%202017.pdf






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