Eating Insects: Earth’s Sustainable Solution

 

Discover the newest way we can help to save the world...

 

In today’s world, climate change hangs over everyone’s head. One of the biggest causes? Meat consumption. The best solution? A call for a new direction—edible insects.

That said, in the western world, we’re all too familiar with turning our noses up to drastic dietary changes. The thought of edible bugs is no different, activating everyone’s inner food critic.

On the bright side, countless countries already consume insects, and have done since the dawn of time. Thailand, Mexico, and Japan, amongst others, all enjoy these meaty morsels. They include mealworms, caterpillars, crickets, and termites within their regular diets, setting an admirable example for the western world.

With a projected world population increase of 2 billion by 2050, western conservationists, governments, and the general public are exploring new avenues of protein food sources. So, could eating bugs in the future be on the cards?

A tray of mealworms made to look tasty and delicious

Benefits of Eating Bugs


The first obstacle we must face before we see bugs on our supermarket shelves is educating the masses on their numerous benefits. There are plenty where that came from, so let’s dive in…

Nutritional Benefits of Consuming Insects


The first, and most important, challenge in implementing insects into our diets is ascertaining whether they are actually a viable alternative to our usual chicken, pork, lamb, and beef. Many will argue that consuming bugs as a protein equivalent won’t match our nutritional needs.

In that, they’d be wrong. Let’s take a look at the figures:

If we take chicken—our most protein-filled meat source—which contains 32 grams of protein per 100 grams, insects actually exceed this figure dramatically! In fact, if we take the edible beetle, Holotrichia Parallela, which contains 70 grams of protein per 100 grams, that’s almost double what chicken offers! This is because, in comparison to animals, insects are much more efficient at converting feed to bodyweight.

Insects are also very high in minerals, and low in fat, making them a fantastically nutritional meat alternative. It seems that eating bugs for protein could become the newest trend, helping us to check nutrition off of our list of queries. Next...

Environmental Benefits of Eating Bugs


Within the meat industry, huge amounts of water, pastures, and agricultural land are required, as well as excessive fossil fuels. But how do insects compare?

Well, alongside accumulating a much lower carbon footprint than meat, bugs also require much less space, water, and feed. What’s more, most insects can even consume organic side-streams, helping to reduce waste products from the agriculture industry.

To add to the wonders of our creepy friends, they could even help save endangered species in some areas! In Madagascar, for example, when malnourishment hits the indigeneous people, they look to their jungle landscapes for nourishment. When this occurs, the endangered lemurs are hunted, putting them under threat.

As we know, the jungle is no stranger to critters. This is why encouraging native populations to consume the creepy-crawlies available, instead of the jungle mammals, could improve the count of those in danger.

Cultural Benefits of Edible Critters


Although us westerners have grown and adapted to new culinary experiences over the centuries, our older generations still remain wary of taste exploration. By introducing insects into our daily repertoire of protein sources, new and interesting recipes, textures, and flavours will become available to us all.

Tray of crickets, made to look tasty and delicious

Disadvantages of Eating Insects


We can’t deny that there are some disadvantages to critter consumption. These include the fact that plummeting insect numbers could affect our ecosystem, the uncertainties about insect toxicity, and the current expense of putting these initiatives forward. That said, with more interest will come more funding, meaning that developing safe, indoor methods of farming will become the norm, combating each of these issues.

Overall, though, it is consumer attitude which is the biggest issue in implementing these ideas within the western world. However, studies have shown that our younger generations are much more open to giving insects a try, especially in unrecognisable forms, like powders and bars.

This is where brands, like Crickefood, Kric8, and Nutribug, come in handy. They use cricket powder in their crackers, tortilla chips, and pasta, amongst other foods, providing a fantastic source of protein, hidden amongst their goods.

Similarly, Eat Grub produce numerous insect products, including protein powders, energy bars, and insect snacks, flavoured with chilli, lime peri-peri, bbq, and more! They even have an extensive list of recipe ideas, so you can start experimenting with new protein-filled meals, and could even get the kids involved.

Protein balls next to the cricket powder used to make them

The Critter-cal Conclusion


We’ve weighed up the pros and cons and, to surmise, we can’t fault this new initiative. Even the Natural History Museum has gotten on board, raising awareness for the cause by hosting a late-night opening, accompanied by edible insects and wine pairings.

By following their lead, and opening public eyes to the wonders of the winged world, who knows what doors it may open.

Have you got a deliciously insect-y product you think should grace our Leisure Food and Beverage Expo on 6th-7th November 2019, at the NEC Birmingham? If so, so do get in touch with our Event Director, Oliver Hayes, at oliver.hayes@prysmgroup.co.uk, or call +44 (0)117 929 6087. We look forward to hearing from you!