You could be eating worms in the near future if food producers need to find more sources of protein to feed the growing population.
Research into the environmental impact of mealworm farming by scientists from Wageningen University in The Netherlands has found that mealworms could be a good alternative to traditional animal protein, such as protecin from sheep, pigs and cows.
In their study, Dennis Oonincx and Imke de Boerconclude write ‘With land availability being the most stringent limitation in sustainably feeding the world’s population, this study clearly shows that mealworm should be considered as a more sustainable alternative to milk, chicken, pork and beef.’
Mealworms only require 43% of the land required to produce one kilogram of edible animal protein when compared to milk production, and only 10% of the land used for beef production.
The study concentrated on the production of protein, and did not take into account the value of non-food products from animals, such as leather or feathers.
Look out for them in a supermarket near you – yum!
You can read the full study at the Plos One website