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Entomophagy in Mexico: current trends and outlook

In: Journal of Insects as Food and Feed
Authors:
E. Ronquillo-de Jesús Universidad Politécnica de Francisco I. Madero, Dirección de Ingenierı́a Agroindustrial, Domicilio Conocido S/N, Tepatepec, Hidalgo, 42660, México

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https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7403-660X
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M.A. Aguilar-Méndez Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Centro de Investigación en Ciencia Aplicada y Tecnologı́a Avanzada – Unidad Legaria, Legaria #694, Colonia Irrigación, Ciudad de México, 11500, México

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https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3525-6519
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L.T. Rodrı́guez-Ortega Universidad Politécnica de Francisco I. Madero, Dirección de Ingenierı́a en Producción Animal, Domicilio Conocido S/N, Tepatepec, Hidalgo, 42660, México

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https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6561-4263
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J. San Juan-Lara Universidad Politécnica de Francisco I. Madero, Dirección de Ingenierı́a Agroindustrial, Domicilio Conocido S/N, Tepatepec, Hidalgo, 42660, México

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https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5052-6252
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Abstract

One-fifth of the edible insect species identified worldwide have been documented in Mexico. In states with an entomophagy tradition, insects have been incorporated into the local cuisine. Results show that the country has a wide diversity of climates and vegetation; thus, each state has its own set of edible insects. This narrative review aims to determine the current state of entomophagy in Mexico, divided into two segments: wild-collected insects, and farmed insect products, and to identify the current trends, both in research and in commercial products available. Wild-gathered insects are mostly purchased at local marketplaces, with prices varying widely, depending on the insect and the sales point. Increased demand for wild edible insects, and the loss of natural habitat, have put some insect species at risk of extinction. Since whole edible insects are wild-gathered and commercialised whole in traditional markets, there are currently no specific mandatory standards for food products containing insects as ingredients. Alongside traditional wild insect activities, there is a fledgling industry of farmed edible insect products which can be purchased online. In conclusion, while the wild-gathered edible insect market is well established, a farmed insect products market is developing, with manufacturers incorporating insect flour into food products where the insect element is inconspicuous, seeking to appeal to a wider range of consumers, yet most recent academic research focuses on wild edible insect species, with a near absence of research articles on the farmed insect species. The insect food product industry would benefit from a closer collaboration with the academic research sector. Furthermore, the lack of a specific regulation for manufacturing insect food products constitutes a disadvantage for firms seeking to export to countries with stricter regulations. Also, with the food safety concerns inherent in wild-gathered insect consumption, studies focusing on the sanitary aspects of entomophagy are insufficient.

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