The growing human population means that the demand for (animal) protein is expected to increase in the near future

“… feeding a world population of 9.1 billion people in 2050 would require raising overall food production by some 70 percent between 2005 and 2050” (FAO, 2009. High-level Expert Forum: Global agriculture towards 2050)

Current Feed production for livestock competes with food production for humans or relies on resources that threaten biodiversity.
Alternative sources of protein for animal feed Are needed.
insects have been put forward as a sustainable source of protein that can be used to feed livestock.

Insects can be used to convert waste streams into valuable protein for animal feed that may replace conventional soy and fishmeal that is currently used. The use of insects in feed can contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals formulated by the UN, such as achieving food security, improving health and well-being, sustainable production patterns and management of resources and climate action.

The Insectfeed program aims to

(1) investigate insect production, especially focussing on insect health, insect welfare and the intrinsic value of insects.

(2) investigate insect-fed poultry health and welfare

(3) conduct an economic analysis of the value chain development.

The output of the programme will consist of

  • scientific publications
  • publications in journals for professionals
  • advisory reports for different societal stakeholders, including politicians, regulators, investment organisations, retail and educational institutes
  • outreach to the general public


Publications as a result of this research programme (latest first).

Article in Journal of Applied Entomology. By Yvonne Kortsmit, Joop van Loon and Marcel Dicke.
Article in Journal of Insects as Food and Feed. By Yvonne Kortsmit, Marrit van der Bruggen, Bregje Wertheim, Marcel Dicke, Leo Beukeboom and Joop van Loon.
Article in Scientific Reports. By Anna Voulgari-Kokota, Leo Beukeboom, Bregje Wertheim and Joana Falcao-Salles
Article in the Journal of Insects as Food and Feed. Combined effort of the INSECTFEED consortium.

List of publications (old to new):

Dicke, M., J. Eilenberg, J. F. Salles, A. B. Jensen, A. Lecocq, G. P. Pijlman, J. J. A. van Loon and M. M. van Oers (2020). “Edible insects unlikely to contribute to transmission of coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.” Journal of Insects as Food and Feed 6(4): 333-339.

Dörper, A., T. Veldkamp and M. Dicke (2021). “Use of black soldier fly and house fly in feed to promote sustainable poultry production.” Journal of Insects as Food and Feed 7(5): 761-780.

Niermans, K., A. M. Meyer, E. F. H.-v. den Hil, J. J. A. van Loon and H. J. van der Fels-Klerx (2021). “A systematic literature review on the effects of mycotoxin exposure on insects and on mycotoxin accumulation and biotransformation.” Mycotoxin Research.

Loon, M. S. v. and B. Bovenkerk 32. The ethics and mindedness of insects.  Justice and food security in a changing climate218-223.

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