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Caterpillar Cereal as a Potential Complementary Feeding Product for Infants and Young Children: Nutritional Content and Acceptability


Bauserman, Melissa S.; Lokangaka, Adrien; Kodondi, Kule-Koto; Gado, Justin; Viera, Anthony J.; Bentley, Margaret E.; Engmann, Cyril M.; Tshefu, Antoinette K.; & Bose, Carl L. (2015). Caterpillar Cereal as a Potential Complementary Feeding Product for Infants and Young Children: Nutritional Content and Acceptability. Maternal & Child Nutrition, 11(S4), 214-220. PMCID: PMC6628707


Micronutrient deficiency is an important cause of growth stunting. To avoid micronutrient deficiency, the World Health Organization recommends complementary feeding with animal-source foods. However, animal-source foods are not readily available in many parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In such areas, caterpillars are a staple in adult diets and may be suitable for complementary feeding for infants and young children. We developed a cereal made from dried caterpillars and other locally available ingredients (ground corn, palm oil, sugar and salt), measured its macro- and micronutrient contents and evaluated for microbiologic contamination. Maternal and infant acceptability was evaluated among 20 mothers and their 8–10-month-old infants. Mothers were instructed in the preparation of the cereal and asked to evaluate the cereal in five domains using a Likert scale. Mothers fed their infants a 30-g portion daily for 1 week. Infant acceptability was based on cereal consumption and the occurrence of adverse events. The caterpillar cereal contained 132 kcal, 6.9-g protein, 3.8-mg iron and 3.8-mg zinc per 30 g and was free from microbiologic contamination. Mothers’ median ratings for cereal characteristics were (5 = like very much): overall impression = 4, taste = 5, smell = 4, texture = 4, colour = 5, and consistency = 4. All infants consumed more than 75% of the daily portions, with five infants consuming 100%. No serious adverse events were reported. We conclude that a cereal made from locally available caterpillars has appropriate macro- and micronutrient contents for complementary feeding, and is acceptable to mothers and infants in the DRC.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Maternal & Child Nutrition


Bauserman, Melissa S.
Lokangaka, Adrien
Kodondi, Kule-Koto
Gado, Justin
Viera, Anthony J.
Bentley, Margaret E.
Engmann, Cyril M.
Tshefu, Antoinette K.
Bose, Carl L.