Approach to the current state of insect production for human and animal consumption in Latin America

  • Karol Bibiana Barragán-Fonseca Universidad Nacional de Colombia
  • Rodrigo Llaurado @Chepulines
Keywords: insects as food, insect production, entomophagy, bioeconomy


Insects constitute more than 50% of all known species, playing a crucial role in the planet's biomass and providing essential ecosystem services such as biological control, pollination, food and feed, and bioconversion. In the context of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, insects are not only fundamental to biodiversity and ecosystems but also play a key role in economic aspects ranging from human consumption to applications in health, agriculture, and medicine. Entomophagy, or insect´s consumption, is a traditional practice in Latin American countries such as Mexico, Brazil, Ecuador, and Colombia. However, the production of insects as food and feed in the region is in its early stages, facing challenges in terms of regulations, training, knowledge dissemination, and collaboration between public and private institutions. Surveys were conducted to assess the situation of insect production in Latin America, revealing a growing interest in species such as the black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens), the mealworm (Tenebrio molitor), and the house cricket (Acheta domesticus). Productive initiatives for these species were identified at various scales, but there is still a lack of experience related to their management or production. The results indicate the need for more training and knowledge dissemination to drive the development of this emerging industry in the region. Additionally, the lack of legislation related to insects as feed and food highlights the need for collaboration to advance a regulatory framework for the production, processing, and marketing of these species.


Download data is not yet available.


Arévalo Arévalo H.A., Menjura Rojas E.M., Barragán-Fonseca, K.B y Vásquez Mejía, S.M. 2022. Implementation of the HACCP system for production of Tenebrio molitor larvae meal. Food Control, 109030.
Ballal, C.R. 2023. Insects and ABS. In Biodiversity Conservation Through Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Himalayas and Indian Sub-Continent (pp. 211-227). Cham: Springer International Publishing.
Barragán-Fonseca, K.B., Gómez, D. y Pineda, J. 2012. Los insectos: Un mundo para explorar. Universidad Nacional de Colombia – UNAL. Bogotá, Colombia. ISBN: 978-958-761-217-2.
Barragán-Fonseca, K.B. 2011. Potencial Zootécnico de Especies Silvestres. Cartilla pedagógica. Universidad Nacional de Colombia – UNAL. Bogotá, Colombia. 32 pages. ISBN: 978-958-719-894-2.
Barragán-Fonseca, K.B., Dicke, M. y van Loon, J.J.A. 2018. Influence of larval density and dietary nutrient concentration on performance, body protein, and fat contents of black soldier fly larvae (Hermetia illucens). Entomol. Exp. Appl. 166:761–770.
Barragán-Fonseca, K.B. y Gómez-Uribe, D. 2024. Insectos en sistemas agroalimentarios: Una perspectiva integral desde el enfoque de Una Salud y los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible. En: Ed. Cediel Becerra, N. y Carrascal Velásquez, J. Libro One Health para Colombia. ASFAMEVEZ. Bogotá, Colombia. Aceptado para publicación.
Barragán-Fonseca, K.Y., Barragán-Fonseca, K.B., Verschoor, G., van Loon, J.J.A. y Dicke, M. 2020a. Insects for peace. Current Opinion in Insect Science 40: 85-93.
Barragán-Fonseca, K. B., J. Cortés Urquijo, M. Dicke y Quintana, A.P. 2020b. South-south inspiration to connect SDG2 and SDG16 in former conflict areas. In: Wageningen Livestock Research, Public Report 1289., Wageningen.
Barragán-Fonseca, K.B., Muñoz-Ramírez, A.P., Mc Cune, N., Pineda, J., Dicke, M. y Cortés, J. 2022. Fighting rural poverty in Colombia: Circular agriculture by using insects as feed in aquaculture (No. 1353). Wageningen Livestock Research.
Barragán-Fonseca, K.B., Cortés-Urquijo, F.J., Pineda, J.R. Lagos, D. y Dicke, M. 2023. Small-scale Black Soldier Fly-Fish farming: a model with socioeconomic benefits. Animal Frontiers. 13 (4): 91-101.
Berggren, Å., A. Jansson y Low, M. 2019. Approaching Ecological Sustainability in the Emerging Insects-as-Food Industry. Trends Ecol. Evol. 34:132–138.
Bermúdez-Serrano, I.M. 2020. Challenges and opportunities for the development of an edible insect food industry in Latin America. Journal of Insects as Food and Feed, 6(5), 537-556.
Bermúdez-Serrano, I. M., Quirós, A. M. y Dornberger, U. 2022. Production and export potential of cricket powder in Costa Rica: an exploratory study. Journal of Insects as Food and Feed, 8(6), 645-657.
Busch, M., A. La Notte, V. Laporte y Erhard, M. 2012. Potentials of quantitative and qualitative approaches to assessing ecosystem services. Ecol. Indic. 21:89–103.
Caparros-Megido, R., Haubruge, E. y Francis, F. 2017. Small-scale production of crickets and impact on rural livelihoods. In: Van Huis, A. y Tomberlin, J.K. (eds.) Insects as food and feed: from production to consumption. Wageningen Academic Publishers, Wageningen, the Netherlands, pp 100-111.
Caparros-Megido R., Francis F., Haubruge E., Le Gall P., Tomberlin J.K., Miranda C.D., Jordan H.R., Picard C.J, Pino M.J.M., Ramos-Elordy J., Katz E., Barragán-Fonseca K.B., Costa-Neto E.M., Ponce-Reyes R., Wijffels G., Ghosh S., Jung C., Han Y.S., Conti B., Vilcinskas A., Tanga C.M., Kababu M.O., Beesigamukama D., Morales Ramos J.A. y van Huis, A. 2023. A worldwide overview of the status and prospects of edible insect production. Entomologie Generalis. Accepted paper.
Cerda, H., Martínez, R., Briceño, N., Pizzoferrato, L., Manzi, P., Ponzetta, M.T. y Paoletti, M.G. 2001. Palm worm:(Rhynchophorus palmarum) traditional food in Amazonas, Venezuela — nutritional composition, small scale production and tourist palatability. Ecology of food and nutrition, 40(1), 13-32.
Costa-Neto, E.M. 2015. Anthropo-entomophagy in Latin America: an overview of the importance of edible insects to local communities. Journal of Insects as Food and Feed, 1(1), 17-23.
Costa-Neto, E.M. 2002. Manual de etnoentomología. Zaragoza, Spain: Sociedad Entomológica Aragonesa.
Cortes, J., Ruiz, A., Morales, J., Thomas, M., Rojas, M., Tomberlin, J., Yi, L., Han, R., Giroud, L. y Jullien, R. 2016. Chapter 6 - Insect Mass Production Technologies. In Aaron T. Dossey, J. A. Morales-Ramos and M. G. Rojas (Eds.), Insects as Sustainable Food Ingredients (pp. 153-201). Academic Press.
Chia, S.Y., Tanga, C.M., van Loon, J.J.A. y Dicke, M. 2019. Insects for sustainable animal feed: inclusive business models involving smallholder farmers. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 41: 23-30.
Cristancho, S. y Barragán-Fonseca K.B. 2011. Análisis del sistema de aprovechamiento del gusano mojojoy (Rhynchophorus palmarum) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) en el Municipio de Leticia – Amazonas, Colombia. Capítulo IV del libro: Etnozoología: un enfoque binacional, México – Colombia. Primera edición. Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos, Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas.
Data Basin. 2023. Los insectos del Orden Coleóptera para Latinoamérica y el Caribe. Available online at: (accessed February 2024)
DeFoliart, G.R. 1999. Insects as Food: Why the Western Attitude is Important. Annual Review of Entomology 44:21-50.
Delvendahl, N., Rumpold B.A. y Langen N. 2022. Edible insects as food – insect welfare and ethical aspects from a consumer perspective. Insects. 13:121.
Deshmuhk R. 2022. Edible Insects Market Insect Type (Beetles, Cricket, Caterpillars, Grasshoppers, Bees, Ants, Others) Application (Food & Beverage, Bakery, Pet Food, Others) P roduct Type (Whole, Ingredient): Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast, 2022-2029. Available online at: https://www. (accessed January 30, 2024).
Dangles, O. y Casas, J. 2019. Ecosystem services provided by insects for achieving sustainable development goals. Ecosyst. Serv. 35:109–115.
Dicke, M. 2018. Insects as feed and the Sustainable Development Goals. J. Insects as Food Feed. 4:147–156.
Dicke, M., Aartsma, Y. y Barragán-Fonseca, K.B. 2020. Protein transition in Colombia: insects as feed in a circular agriculture. SMP Report. Wageningen University and Research. The Netherlands.
Dimarq JL. y Hunneyball, I. 2003. Pharma-Entomology: when bugs become drugs. Drug Discov Today. 8:107 – 110.
Grimaldi, D. y Engel, M.S. 2005. Evolution of the Insects. Cambridge University Press.
García, A. y J. de Celis. 1992. Developmental genetics of the venation pattern of Drosophila. Annual Rev. Genet. 26: 277 – 304.
Gahukar, R.T. 2011. Entomophagy and human food security. International Journal of Tropical Insect Science (2011) 31:129–44.
Gahukar, R.T. 2018. Entomophagy for nutritional security in India. Current Science, 115(6), 1078-1084.
Girotto, F. y Piazza, L. 2022. Food waste bioconversion into new food: A mini-review on nutrients circularity in the production of mushrooms, microalgae and insects. Waste Management & Research 40: 47-53.
IPIFF. International Platform of Insects for Food and Feed. 2019. Guide on good hygiene practices. IPIFF, 1(1), 1–121.
Lalander, C., Diener, S., Zurbrügg, C. y Vinnerås, B. 2019. Effects of feedstock on larval development and process efficiency in waste treatment with black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens). Journal of cleaner production, 208, 211-219.
López, A. 2000. Manual de prácticas de laboratorio y campo. Programa nacional de Manejo Integrado de Plagas. I Curso taller de control biológico - Corpoica. Bogotá. 89p.
Oonincx, D. Itterbeeck, J. Heekamp, M. Brand, H. van Lonn, J. y A. van Huis. 2010. An exploration on greenhouse gas and ammonia production by insect species suitable for animal or human consumption. PLoS ONE; 5 (12): 1 – 7.
Papastavropoulou, K., Koupa, A., Kritikou, E., Kostais, M. y Proestos, C. 2021. Edible insects: benefits and potential risk for consumers and food industry. Biointerface Research in Applied Chemistry. 12:5131–49.
Piña-Domínguez, I.A., Ruiz-May, E., Hernández-Rodríguez, D., Zepeda, R.C. y Melgar-Lalanne, G. 2022. Environmental effects of harvesting some Mexican wild edible insects: An overview. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, 6.
Pinho, R., Correia, P., Coelho, C. y Amaro da Costa, C. 2021. The role of edible insects to mitigate challenges for sustainability. Open Agriculture. 6:24–36.
Ramos-Elorduy, J. 2005. Insects: a hopeful food source. In: Paoletti, M.G. (ed.) Ecological implications of minilivestock: potential of insects, rodents, frogs and snails (pp. 263-292). New Hampshire: Science Publishers Inc.
Ramos-Elorduy, J. 2005. Insects: a hopeful food source. In: Paoletti, M.G. (ed.) Ecological implications of minilivestock: potential of insects, rodents, frogs and snails (pp. 263-292). New Hampshire: Science Publishers Inc.
Ramírez, M. (Ed). 2005. Cría de mariposas – Una actividad rentable. Manual. Fundación hogares juveniles campesinos. Bogotá. 112p.
Sponchiado, V. Mansur, G.G. y Massolino, L. 2005. Investigação da diversidade de coleópteros em dois fragmentos demata do município de frederico westphalen, RS. In: Simpósio Sul de Gestão e Conservação Ambiental, 2005, Erechim. Anais do I Simpósio Sul de Gestão e Conservação Ambiental: Biodiversidade: Ensino e Pesquisa / I Simpósio Sul de Gestão e Conservação Ambiental. Erechim, RS: NixBrasil. Agência Digital.
Srivastava, S.K. 2017. Insect bioprospecting especially in India. Bioprospecting: Success, Potential and Constraints, 245-267. In Paterson, R., & Lima, N. (eds.), Bioprospecting, Topics in Biodiversity and Conservation.
van Huis, A. 2013. Potential of insects as food and feed in assuring food security. Annu. Rev. Entomol. 58, 563–583
van Huis, A. 2020. Insects as food and feed, a new emerging agricultural sector: a review. Journal of Insects as Food and Feed 6: 27-44.
van Huis, A. 2022. Edible insects: non-food and non-feed industrial applications. Journal of Insects as Food and Feed 8: 447-450.
Eilenberg, J. y van Loon, J.J. 2018. Insects: Key biological features. In: N. Halloran, A., Flore, R., Vantomme, P., Roos, editor. Edible insects in sustainable food systems. Springer Nature Switzerland AG. p. 3-15.
Elizalde, L., M. Arbetman, X. Arnan, P. Eggleton, I. R. Leal, M. N. Lescano, A. Saez, V. Werenkraut y Pirk, G.I. 2020. The ecosystem services provided by social insects: traits, management tools and knowledge gaps.
Gasca-Álvarez, H.J. y Costa-Neto, E.M. 2022. Insects as a food source for indigenous communities in Colombia: a review and research perspectives. J. Insects as Food Feed. 8:593–603.
Ghosh, S., Jung, C. y Meyer-Rochow, V.B. 2018. What governs selection and acceptance of edible insect species? In: P. Halloran, A., Flore, R., Vantomme and N. Roos, editors. Edible insects in sustainable food systems. Springer Nature Switzerland AG. p. 331–351.
Halloran, A., Hansen, H.H., Jensen, L.S. y Bruun, S. 2018. Comparing environmental impacts from insects for feed and food as an alternative to animal production. In: P. Halloran, A., Flore, R., Vantomme and N. Roos, editors. Edible insects in sustainable food systems. Springer Nature Switzerland AG. p. 163–180.
van Huis, A. y Oonincx, D.G. 2017. The environmental sustainability of insects as food and feed. A review. Agron. Sustain. Dev. 37:1–14.
van Loon, J.J.A. 2023. Insects: why we need them on our plates. In: H. H. E. Pyett, S. C., Jenkins, W. M. N., van Mierlo, B. C., Trindade, L. M., Welch, D., van Zanten, editor. Our future proteins: A diversity of perspectives. Amsterdam. p. 123–129.
Jongema, Y. 2017. Worldwide list of recorded edible insects. Wageningen Univ. Res. Available from:
Losey, J. E. y Vaughan, M. 2006. The economic value of ecological services provided by insects. Bioscience, 56(4), 311-323.[311:TEVOES]2.0.CO;2
Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. 2005. Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Opportunities and Challenges for Business and Industry. World Resources Institute, Washington, DC.
Payne, C.L.R. y Van Itterbeeck, J. 2017. Ecosystem services from edible insects in agricultural systems: A review. Insects. 8:1–20.
How to Cite
Barragán-Fonseca, Karol Bibiana, and Rodrigo Llaurado. 2024. “Approach to the Current State of Insect Production for Human and Animal Consumption in Latin America”. Archivos Latinoamericanos De Producción Animal 32 (2 in progr), 77-88.
Original paper