Which insect species can best be proposed for human consumption?

Attila Gere, Dalma Radványi, Károly Héberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)


Edible insects have become popular in the past few years not only in the scientific literature but in other media as well. One of the major advantages of entomophagy (eating insects) is said to be the great nutritional composition. Many sources report that insects (generally) have better nutritional characteristics than traditional protein sources. In our research, we aim to give a complete picture of the nutritional profile of insects using a multicriteria optimization method, sum of ranking differences. The materials we used are published results of different authors from the past few years. The proximate analysis tells that insects generally have a better nutritional profile than other meats. The situation is a bit different in the case of mineral content; hence some vegetables have excellent mineral sources but waxworm larvae were ranked in the first three. Additionally, waxworm larvae have the most similar amino acid pattern to the FAO recommendation for adults. Earthworm, house cricket, and mealworm larvae showed the most promising vitamin content; however, huge differences were observed between the developmental stages of insects. A detailed analysis of these differences on the example of mealworms showed that adults may present a better option from the nutritional point of view. Same measurements conducted by different authors on the same species show considerable differences; hence the comparison of the results of different publications is dubious and should be handled with care. Based on our results, insects have a promising nutritional profile and may become part of many food products in the future. Present status of knowledge allows to conclude; which insect is best suitable for human consumption.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)358-367
Number of pages10
JournalInnovative Food Science and Emerging Technologies
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


  • Eating insects
  • Entomophagy
  • Multicriteria optimization
  • Proximate analysis
  • Sum of ranking differences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

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