Edible Insects, An Industrial Analysis Report of Mealworms

How Westerners can save the world by extending their diet with a healthy and delicious ingredient

Access the report by downloading the zip file at the top of the page

You can also watch the report online here. If you want to donwload it on that page(GitHub), you have to click the 'Raw' button.


This Industry Analysis Report was written in the Spring term of 2015 by five graduate students at Tsinghua University, Beijing, China. It serves as the capstone of the Global Manufacturing Strategy course, following the XLP teaching methodology (Xtreme Learning Proces) and taught by professor Ben Koo. Our goal is to provide the world with plentiness of food, delicious food. We are inspired by the plentiness and delicious wine Bacchus symbolizes. As engineers, we want to combine human innovation in agriculture with the use of the fertility of nature to make this happen. As a team of five students from all around the world, we immersed ourselves in the world of edible insects for four months. Together, we processed more than 100 references and compiled the report. Now, we hope it may be of help for everybody interested to start in this industry.

M. Doerr, Germany

M. Floru, Belgium

M. Maniglier, France

M. Palit, Indonesia

I. Saenz, Mexico

Why insects?

Given the trend of population increase, the Earth is expected to be inhabited by more than 9 billion people by 2050. All these people will need food to satisfy their daily nutrient requirements. Considering that 27kg of CO2 are released into the air to produce 1 kg of beef (12kg for 1kg of pork and 6kg for 1kg of chicken), such traditional protein sources are not sustainable to feed the world. We must find alternative ways to meet the growing protein needs of mankind. We believe edible insects are a part of the answer. More specifically, our proposal is to use mealworms as a substitute for meat. Mealworms have higher content on protein and less content on fat than meat. They require less space for breeding and processing. Their low ecological footprint makes them a sustainable source of food. Of course, there are challenges in legal and social aspects. Although 2 billion people on Earth eat insects, the acceptance among Westerners is not won yet. Also, the absence of a legislative framework makes any industrialization difficult. A lack of knowledge and scale results in high production costs today. Our report wants to reduce the difficulty for people who start producing mealworms by compressing and advancing the knowledge in this field. Mealworms can provide us with a delicious, healthy and environmental friendly new food source. We believe this opportunity has to be seized!

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A full list of all references we used to compile the report can be accessed here.