Image credit: Jiminy Cricket by Prince Roy, on Flickr. CC BY 2.0.
Recently I was reading an issue of O, The Oprah Magazine (don’t judge) that contained an article discussing Daniella Martin’s book, Edible, which is about eating things a lot of us spend time trying to avoid: Insects.
Since I saw that story, I haven’t been able to get the idea of eating bugs off my mind. Would I do it if I had the chance? I know a lot of cultures practice entomophagy and I have watched plenty of travel programming featuring a willing (or an unwilling, but brave) host sampling local buggy delicacies. As far as I know, none of them died after biting into a beetle.
Everyone (but us) is doing it
I’m not the only one who is intrigued by the idea of gobbling down a grasshopper. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has been advocating for the development of insect farming for years. (The Guardian put together a nifty infographic summing up the FAO’s report; you can see it here. Or, you can read the full FAO report here.)
According to the FAO’s report, almost two billion people include insects in their diets. It appears it’s just residents of the western world that find bugs too icky to eat. But we may need to get over it; some estimates project by 2050, there will be more people on Earth than livestock farming can support. Additionally, insect farming uses fewer resources and creates far fewer greenhouse gas emissions than traditional livestock farming.
Crickets are the new quinoa?
It may not be a bad thing to start adding insects to our diet now, anyway. Edible insects are a food source that is affordable and high in protein and omega-3s.
Since people have been chirping about the benefits of eating insects, foodies and entrepreneurs have taken notice and started creating products using cricket flour as the featured ingredient. Last fall, a group of students from Montreal’s McGill University were awarded $1 million to develop a network of insect farms in poor countries and produce flour from their stock.
Given all the buzz, it may not be too much longer before my local grocery store carries a decent insect-based product. When it does, the product may just hop in my cart—after all I’ve learned, I’m willing to give it a try.
What about you? Would you eat insects? Have you already? I’d love to hear about it if you have!