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The use of live insect larvae to improve sustainability and animal welfare of organic chicken production


Poultrynsect project, exploiting the use of live insect larvae, aims to give concrete solutions to the expectations of organic poultry meat consumers and European citizens responsive to environmental impact, animal welfare and healthy nutrition.

Poultrynsect is a research project developed by a consortium of scientists with expertise in agronomy, poultry nutrition, entomology, food and veterinary sciences belonging to research and academic institutions of four European countries (Belgium, Germany, Italy and Norway).



Poultry meat production has a negative environmental impact mainly due to feed production, where soybean meal is the most common protein source. A promising alternative source of proteins is in-sects, which has shown great potential environmental benefits because as efficient bioconverters they are able to recycle nutrients from organic residue. Moreover, live insect larvae fed to poultry enable birds to express their normal active behaviour reflecting positive impacts on animal welfare.


Main project activities

The project aims to test the effects of an innovative feed ingredient (insect larvae) for slow-growing organic chickens to allow sustainable meat production, to improve animal welfare and to potentially meet the consumer demand for healthier and more natural meat products with enhanced palatability. Insect larvae will be reared on organic food side streams, allowing the valorisation of secondary raw materials produced in excess from the food industries, and then used as feed ingredient and environmental enrichment for the chickens.


Expected results

This study will focus on animal welfare, productive performance, gut health and meat quality and will contribute to the development of cost-effective and environmental-friendly diets for poultry, aiming at improving sustainability in organic chicken meat production.



Chicken welfare, insect larvae, organic food, poultry meat, environmental sustainability, innovative poultry feed


Project consortium

Coordinated by:


  • Francesco Gai, CNR (Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche), (IT)
  • Achille Schiavone, University of Torino, (IT)
  • Sergiy Smetana, DIL e.V. (German Institute of Food Technologies), (DE)
  • Carl Coudron, Inagro VZW, (BE)
  • Anne Rieder, Nofima AS, (NO)

Funding institutions:

  • MIPAAF, Italy
  • BLE, Germany
  • Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (Dept. LV), Belgium
  • RCN, Norway


More information



Twitter: @poultrynsect