In the coming four years, scientists from Wageningen University & Research (WUR) together with the industry will investigate whether insect larvae are a sustainable source of nutrition for piglets and broilers. For the first time the full environmental impact will be identified. This will determine whether providing insects could lead to a reduction of the environmental impact of livestock production. At the same time, the potential benefits for chicken and pig welfare will be explored.

Given the increasing demand for pork and poultry meat worldwide, the search for sustainable feed ingredients is urgent. At the same time, citizens plea for improved livestock welfare. There is growing awareness of the potential contribution of insects as livestock feed to the sustainability of meat production, but facts are lacking at this moment. That is the reason for starting a research project in spring 2018, in which researchers and industry join forces to assess the sustainability of feeding insect larvae to pigs and broilers.

The Adaptation Physiology, Animal Production Systems, Entomology and Animal Nutrition groups will conduct the research using a unique, multidisciplinary approach. The project focuses on the environmental and welfare effects of providing black soldier fly larvae (a non-harmful insect) to chickens and pigs. This project will, for the first time, assess a complete nutrient balance of insects that grow on different waste streams.