Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Volume 34, February 2019,
The emerging insects-as-food industry is increasingly promoted as a sustainable alternative to other animal protein production systems. However, the exact nature of its environmental benefits are uncertain because of the overwhelming lack of knowledge concerning almost every aspect of production: from suitable species, their housing and feed requirements, and potential for accidental release. If ecological sustainability is to be a hallmark of mass insect rearing for consumption, ecologists need to engage in research related to sustainability criteria that are directly linked to key elements of the development of the industry. There is more to this subject than simply comparing feed-conversion ratios (FCRs) of insects to traditional livestock production, and we highlight areas where research needs to be immediately focused.