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Fostering Strategies to Expand the Consumption of Edible Insects: The Value of a Tripartite Coalition between Academia, Industry, and Government


Although many insect-based foods are nutritious and often an inexpensive option for human and domesticated animal consumption, there remains a negligible market for such foods in many countries. Several environmental and economic considerations underscore the potential value of insect-based foods, and emerging science suggests that diets incorporating such foods might also convey some genuine health benefits. However, if expanded markets for insect-based foods in cultures naïve to entomophagy are to be pursued, it will be important to develop multifaceted and coordinated strategies to 1) delineate authentic health benefits, 2) explore means of optimizing insect husbandry and food processing, 3) examine cultural barriers to acceptance, 4) formulate workable approaches to marketing, and 5) address relevant food regulations. We sought to construct a multidisciplinary coalition whose goals are to investigate the above-mentioned 5 issues. Eighteen individuals from government, industry, and academia, with collective expertise in the fields of entomology, insect husbandry, human nutrition, sustainable agriculture, entomophagy, consumer product development and marketing, food-processing technologies, food regulatory affairs, and the anthropology of food selection, convened a 1-d summit and formed a tripartite organization to integrate their varied perspectives. Collaborative efforts are underway among members of this coalition to accomplish these multiple goals. Coordinating efforts between accomplished experts in relevant fields of academia, government, and industry will greatly expand our knowledge of and appreciation for the potential benefits of insect-based foodstuffs to individuals, to society, and to the sustainability of the global food supply, and thereby inform us as to how to proceed in a judicious and intelligent manner.

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