Grub’s up as FAO tweets insect infographic

By Michael Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Grubs up, according to the FAO
Grubs up, according to the FAO

Related tags Insect

Putting insects on a plate is the subject of a new infographic posted on the social networking site Twitter by the Food and Agriculture Organisation, as pressure mounts to make the protein more acceptable to EU consumers.

The infographic – which appears below – headed ‘Grab some Grub’ promotes the use of insects both for human food and animal feed. The graphic spells out the most popular use of insects around the world, featuring such delights as: cicadas in Asia and Africa, caterpillars in South Africa and ant eggs in Mexico in Thailand.

“Not only do insects contain great nutritional values, but they have also proven to be more environmentally friendly than some livestock,” ​according to the infographic. Worldwide more than 2bn people regularly eat insects. Click on the image below to view the infographic.  

Meanwhile pressure is growing to make the eating of insects more acceptable to western consumers. Last week a new group representing insect-producing companies urged Brussels policy makers to adapt legislation to allow insect products as a sustainable and innovative source of animal proteins for food consumption and animal feed.

Value of insects can no longer be ignored

President of the group, the International Platform of Insects for Food and Feed (IPIFF), Antoine Hubert, said the nutritive value of insects can no longer be ignored in the west.

“Our planet faces huge challenges because of the growing population and increasing competition for scarce resources, and we believe that insects are part of the solution,”​ said Hubert. “That’s why we joined forces to create IPIFF, so that we can speak to the EU institutions and partners from the food and feed chain with one voice.

Insects on a plate

  • Ant egg
  • Bee larvae
  • Caterpillar
  • Cicada
  • Cricket
  • Grasshopper
  • Locust
  • Mealworm
  • Silkworm
  • Wasp
  • Weevil
  • Witchetty grub
  • Termite

As a pivotal actor in this process we will strive to make insect protein available to EU farmers, companies and consumers.”

Lack of legal certainty about the status of insects is jeopardising investments in their production and restricting the availability of the protein for consumers and EU farmers, claimed the group.

IPIFF wants EU feed legislation to be revised to allow insect products reared on 100% vegetable feed to be used as sources of proteins for aquaculture, poultry and pigs, said IPIFF’s vice-president Tarique Arsiwalla.

“Production techniques have been developed in recent years and are now being deployed at industrial scale by companies which comply with stringent risk management procedures,”​ said  Arsiwalla.

‘Food and feed safety’

“Insect derived products can therefore be used in nutritional and functional feed applications at competitive prices, whilst complying with EU highest standards in terms of food and feed safety.”

IPIFF was launched at the Brussels meeting on Monday (April 13) ​by insect-producing companies from the Netherlands, France, Germany and South Africa.

Insects for human food will also be on the agenda – and possibly the lunchtime plates – of delegates at a new one-day innovation conference on June 26 in London.

The conference – New Frontiers in Food and Drink – organised by’s publisher William Reed Business Media will take place at Etc.venues, St Pauls, London.

Joining the line-up of expert speakers will be Professor Arnold van Huis, tropical entomologist, Laboratory of Entomology, Wageningen University, who will explore the potential of insects as food.

For more information and to book tickets, click here​. Or contact Caroline Croft by phone on 01293 610 347 or email

Book by April 30 to benefit from an early bird rate of £361, compared with the standard price of £425.

Click on the image below to view the infographic.

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