There are a number of compelling reasons to use insects as an alternative or complementary food source. Broadly speaking, insects are capable of providing a comparable (if not more beneficial) nutritional profile for pets at a lower financial and environmental cost. More specifically these benefits include:
a) Nutritional content: Independent nutritional analyses of black soldier fly larvae indicate they have a complete nutritional profile with balanced amino acid content, essential fatty acids, vitamins & minerals.
b) No bi-products: The whole insect can be consumed so there is minimal waste in the production process.
c) Low environmental impact and sustainable production: Insects have a favourable environmental footprint when compared to traditional farming. This includes water, land, energy consumption and feed. For instance, per kg of protein, black soldier fly larvae require ~4m2 of land (vs ~51m2 for poultry), produce significantly lower levels of greenhouse gases (~6kg of CO2 vs ~33kg for poultry) and require ~5m3 of water of which is sourced from their feed (vs ~34m3 for poultry).
d) Efficiency: Insects are very efficient in converting feed into protein and are not pestiferous. When compared to current livestock farming, they require significantly less resources to grow comparable yields. As an example, within 15 days 1g of black soldier fly eggs grows into ~2.4 kilograms of larvae protein.
e) Functional properties: the protein structure of the black soldier fly larvae is able to withstand high temperatures, significant pressure and torsional movements. This makes them very suitable for use in existing manufacturing techniques such as extrusion.