Let’s face it – bugs have an ick factor that has been engrained in our minds and culture since childhood. As a feminine (besides the occasional man-spreading) woman myself, I used to think so too. But when was the last time you looked at a live chicken or crab? They hardly look appetizing.
If we keep an open mind and stomach, it becomes easy to see why insects deserve a place on our plates:
1. They’re healthy
Insects like crickets, grasshoppers, beetles, and more are rich sources of protein, fiber, healthy Omega-3 fats, iron, and calcium. You can get the same vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin A, Vitamin B12, and zinc as nutritious vegetables like broccoli. Meanwhile, they are low in carbohydrates and saturated fats. The nutritional profile of insects can be effective in improving one’s health and preventing obesity.
2. It saves water
Farming and producing traditional livestock like beef utilizes a staggering amount of resources. Did you know that it takes 98 gallons of water to yield only 10 grams of beef protein? Pork requires 75 gallons of water and poultry isn’t much better at 53.
How does cricket flour stack up? Only 7.5 gallons of water resources are needed to product the equivalent 10 grams of protein from crickets. That means beef takes 13X the water resources, and poultry 7X!
3. They emit fewer carbon emissions
Insects have a low environmental impact especially compared to over livestock. Chickens can emit anywhere from 32-167% more CO2 than mealworms, and beef produces 600-1300% the greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse gases are responsible for trapping heat within our atmosphere, ultimately leading to global warming. By getting some of our protein needs from insects, we can help preserve our planet.
4. Urban farming of bugs provides a solution
By 2050, our world population is projected to reach 10 billion. In order to feed our next generations, 70% more food will need to be produced. At this growth rate, it becomes even more imperative to find sustainable ways to farm. With new technology and infrastructure, insects fit the bill for efficient and effective urban farming, vertical farming, and precision farming. Alternative proteins like insects are going to play a pivotal role in the future of food production.
5. They can impact world hunger
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, insects can be a viable solution for current global issues like food shortages, world hunger, and food insecurity. Eva Muller, the Director of FAO’s Forest Economics, Policy and Products Division, is quoted saying: “If we think about edible insects, there’s a huge potential that has essentially not been tapped yet.”
Because insects have a short lifespan and can be farmed in alternative ways, they present a way to quickly yield highly nutritious food on a grand scale.
6. They bring the world closer together in culture
One of the best parts about traveling the world is truly immersing yourself into a country’s culture and cuisine. Today, we can scroll through seamless and decide between some mainstream pad thai, fresh salmon roe sushi, and comforting enchiladas. But remember, sushi wasn’t always popular!
Bugs as food is only just emerging in the Western world, but over 1,000 species of insects are eaten regularly in parts of Latin America, South America, Asia, Africa, and New Zealand. As we gradually adopt the notion, our world becomes a little closer.
7. They’re tasty!
Timon and Pumbaa were right about bugs being satisfying delicacies! There are so many kinds of edible insects with a wide array of flavor profiles that lend well to our daily diets. Crickets, mealworms, buffalo worms, and more are so versatile – especially when ground to a flour. You can bake, dredge, or pour these ingredients into virtually anything. If you’re curious about the endless possibilities, see for yourself on our recipes page.