Entomophagy – a novel option in animal and human nutrition
Entomophagy is not a new phenomenon in the world. Moreover, it is a traditional diet in a large part of the planet. However, in the European framework it belongs to the category of novel food and although the topic is often debated, it represents a growing choice in human and animal nutrition. Edible insects have the potential to serve as a healthy, sustainable alternative to animal protein sources due to their valuable nutritional composition. They may have superior health benefits based on high levels of essential amino acids, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, vitamin B12, iron, zinc, fibre and antioxidants. They could offer a myriad of environmental benefits, including overall reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and reduced use of agricultural land and water. Future research should aim to understand the beneficial effects of whole insects or insect isolates compared to traditional foods of animal and plant origin. Although insects have the potential to be used as meat substitutes or dietary supplements, leading to benefits for human health and the environment, this paper does not aim to ultimately propagate their use, but to point out their advantages and qualities, as well as potential dangers and risks, and finally to present ways of placing insects on the European market.