Document Type : Original
Department of Agricultural Economics, Payame Noor University, Tehran, Iran.
Department of Economic, Tehran University, Tehran, Iran.
Department of Entomology, Islamic Azad University, Science and Research Branch, Tehran, Iran.
Background and objective: Consumption of insects as alternative sustainable source of protein for humans and animals has been promoted. Other than nutritional benefits, insects could increase cost-effectiveness of food or feed systems. The present research aims to use analytic hierarchy process (AHP) to prioritize the challenges lying ahead of breeding and consumption of insects as feed and food in view of consumers.
Materials and methods: This study was conducted by a descriptive-analytical method. The participants were inhabitants of Tehran (capital city of Iran). The current challenges ahead of edible insects were investigated according to the opinions of experts in the field and review of the relevant literatures. A questionnaire was prepared and further completed by 20 experts. The challenges were identified as eight criteria including economy, infrastructure, health and food, culture and attitude, management and support, legal limitation, sustainable development, and education. Then, 83 sub-criteria were defined for the eight criteria. In order to prioritize the criteria and the sub-criteria, a hierarchical tree was designed. At the end, paired comparison matrices were analyzed by Expert Choice 11 software and relative/final weights of the criteria and the sub-criteria were calculated.
Results and conclusion: Results showed that “health and food” with final weight of 0.335, “culture and attitude” with final weight of 0.222, and “education” with final weight of 0.190 were the top three challenges. Importantly, incompatibility rate was less than 0.1 in all cases. At sub-criteria level, acceptability of edible insects by people in term of “taste and odor”, “existence of pathogenic microorganisms”, and “possible poisoning in human” with final weights of 0.049, 0.037, and 0.035, respectively, were considered as the most important challenges. Our evaluation revealed that health-related issues were the main challenges in acceptance of insects as feed and food in Iran.