As the world grows hungrier for animal protein, insects could be the new way to feed livestock.

Most farmers go to great lengths to keep insects at bay. For a growing cadre of livestock and fish producers though, bugs have never been so welcome.

Despite the appearance of some insect-based foods on store shelves — protein bars and tortilla chips made from crickets, for instance — creepy-crawlies are still a little distasteful for most.

However, food producers are likely to feel the pinch as the world’s population climbs to nine billion by 2050, while rising incomes in large countries like China and India lead to greater demand for meat-rich diets. So entrepreneurs, researchers, and even the United Nations are looking for an animal feed less expensive than the soybeans and fishmeal typically used today. Insects like mealworms and fly larvae, a natural food for wild birds and fish, could be a near-perfect replacement. With several startups planning industrial-scale operations, it may not be long before some poultry or fish entrées are raised on a regular diet of bugs.  Read more …

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