LONDON (TIP): Edible insect protein from mealworms may prove to be a more sustainable alternative to foods like milk and chicken, according to researchers. Researchers compared the environmental impact of meat production on a Beetle larvae or mealworms farm to traditional animal farms using three parameters: Land usage, energy needs, and greenhouse gas emissions.
They found mealworms produce more edible protein than traditional farms for chicken, pork, beef or milk, for the same amount of land used. Research led by Dennis Oonincx from the University of Wageningen, Netherlands, found that from the start of the process to the point that the meat left the farm, mealworms scored better than the other foods. Mealworm farms required less land and similar amounts of energy per unit of edible protein produced. Previous work by the team has already shown that mealworms themselves produce less greenhouse gases than other animals grown for meat. In this new study, the researchers elaborate on the sustainability of insect proteins as a food by showing that growing mealworms for animal protein requires less land and generate fewer greenhouse gas emissions than chicken, pork, beef or milk.