Sustainable Proteins? Values Related to Insects in Food Systems

Developing large scale production systems for farmed insects to supplement or replace feed and food ingredients from vertebrate livestock is often heralded as a more sustainable way to produce animal protein than currently used livestock production methods and is receiving increased interest from a diverse set of stakeholders ranging from political decision makers, environmental interest groups, farmers, industry and scientists. This is hardly a surprise, as sustainability has been widely embraced as a broad and inclusive political (ideological) as well as managerial (practical) framework. Ideally sustainability is a balance between a one-sided focus on productivity and profit on the one hand, and uncompromising demands for nature preservation and calls for radical changes in the agricultural production on the other. But there are different views on how to strike that balance – to some extent reflecting different values – which in turn gives rise to different challenges on how insects can contribute to food systems around the world.