BENEFITS of mealworms production.

In this level, we will explore the benefits of raising mealworms, including their nutritional value, environmental benefits, and economic benefits. As well the basics of doing it at home or on small scales to produce high-quality feed for us or our pets.

2. Benefits of Raising Mealworms

In this chapter, we will explore the benefits of raising mealworms, including their nutritional value, environmental benefits, and economic benefits. Because one of the questions is why this specie?

There are systemic inefficiencies in creating high-quality animal protein globally as feed competes with human edible food (J.M. Wilkinson, M.R.F.Lee 2018). Production costs grow globally because of the international outlook and add to the previously mentioned environmental impact due to inefficient production, transportation, availability, and stocks (JPMorgan Global Manufacturing PMI 2021).

a. Nutritional Value of Mealworms

Mealworms are a rich source of protein, vitamins, and minerals. They are also low in fat and cholesterol, making them a healthy food source for pets and humans. Mealworms contain essential amino acids, which are not produced by the human body and must be obtained through diet.

Average nutritional value per 100 grams of commonly used meats and edible insects, by species (in grams) - Source Statista 2023

b. Environmental Benefits of Mealworm Farming

Raising mealworms can be a sustainable way to produce protein. Unlike traditional livestock farming, mealworm farming requires little space, water, and feed. Additionally, mealworms make less waste than other livestock and can be fed on organic waste products. Mealworms can recycle food waste, reducing waste sent to landfills.

Labor input per kilogram of protein output in livestock vs insect farming, by species (in hours) - Source Statista 2016 from Lux Research, Medium and others.

c. Economic Benefits of Mealworm Farming

Mealworm farming can be a profitable business. The low start-up costs and maintenance requirements make it an attractive option for small farmers. Additionally, the demand for mealworms as a food source is growing, creating opportunities for new businesses in the industry.

The global insect protein market size was valued at USD 249.9 million in 2020 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27.4% from 2021 to 2028. - Source: Business Wire 2022

On Level 2, you’ll get a lot of market information, projections and data to understand the economic importance of insect farming, their applications and scalability.

d. What insect species are great to rear intensively?

Tenebrio Molitor is one of the hundred species of beetles around the world. Originally from the Mediterranean area, it’s now widely found in every corner of the world. Every country or economic region has specific legislation that allows certain species to be produced on an industrial scale, many of which are edible by humans.

Top 10 - There are at least 659 species of edible beetles in the world. Source: Wageningen University & Research 2017

e. Did you know? Not all intensive farming is equal

When the media talks about intensive livestock farming, intensive farming because it usually refers to the intensive rearing of farm animals such as cows, pigs, and chickens. And everything associated with this production is generally negative. Because on the one hand, this industry is relatively new; it is 70 years old, and its consequences are still being researched.

On the other hand, intensive rearing of these animals tends to bring problems when the density of individuals reaches a certain number of individuals per square meter. Farmers have always known that there is an optimum amount of space for each animal. Forcing higher density means introducing antibiotics, reducing mobility, increasing animal abuse, etc.

Due to many factors, insects tend to thrive and require a high density of individuals to obtain optimal growth. Still, they are cold-blooded animals and do not tend to generate contagious diseases. And this makes this industry so unique and with so much future.

f. Legislation

Many countries and economic areas are working intensively towards legislation on the production of insects and how to use them for feed and food.

European Union

For example, European Union legislation has approved four species authorised: Tenebrio monitor (Yellow Mealworm), Locusta migratoria (Migratory Locust), Acheta domesticus (House Cricket) and Alphitobius diaperionus (Lesser Mealworm) under the novel food regulation. - And currently, eight insect applications are intended to be marketed in different forms, subject to a safety evaluation by EFSA.

Since September 2021, the possibilities to feed insect proteins to certain animal species are unlocked, thanks to the lifting of the EU ‘feed ban’ rules

In April 2021, the EU Member States voted positively on the authorisation of insect processed animal proteins (PAPs) in poultry and pig feed.  This proposal represents a relevant milestone for the European insect sector, as it marks one of the key steps in the authorisation process. In line with the EU procedures, the entry into force of this proposal took place on the 7th of September 2021.

The driver of innovation and legislation for insect farming in the European Union is the International Platform of Insects for Food and Feed (IPIFF). IPIFF is an EU non-profit organisation which represents the interests of the insect production sector towards EU policy makers, European stakeholders and citizens. Composed of 79 members, IPIFF promotes the use of insects for human consumption and insect-derived products as a top tier source of nutrients for animal feed.

Find out more at IPIFF Website

Overview of regulatory possibilities for using insect products as feed at EU level (IPIFF Guide on Good Hygiene Practices for EU producers of insects as food and feed – November 2022)
- Source:

United Kingdom

Due to Brexit, in the UK, legislation went back to 1995 in many ways, luckily the Food Standard Agency (FSA) is working intensely to develop legislation to put the United Kingdom back on track in this market. And there are progress that can be found here:

Consultation on transitional arrangements for edible insects in Great Britain: summary of stakeholder responses. Source: approval insect novel food

United States

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Latin America

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Documentation Last revision: April 2023 By 01Entolab

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3. Mealworm Life Cycle

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