The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that around two billion people (more than a quarter of the world’s population) eat insects as part of their standard diet. Of course, such a score has its roots not only in regional customs and cuisine but also in the availability of the product. According to research, only around 2% of all the world’s edible insects live in Europe. In some parts of the world, they are eaten right away, live and juicy or dry-toasted. Then they are prized for their outstanding qualities, such as crunchiness or chewiness. However, most of them do not even look like insects as they are processed into a pulp and meal.
Advantages of insect food
We have been resisting such gustatory pleasures for long enough. Neither Europeans nor Americans have never had a “bug-eating” tradition. We shy from high in protein and healthy options, and instead, we prefer highly processed food, microwaveable meals, and other “treats” which will not save the world, end the world hunger and poverty, or protect the environment. The entrepreneurs in the West promote insect meals as a superfood because of their various advantages such as high protein content and ecological sustainability. Interestingly enough, we already eat them. They somehow end up in our diet, for example, while eating fresh or cooked fruits and vegetables. Moreover, many international companies use them as a colorant (dye) in food.
A vital source of protein, fat, and energy value
As for now, scientists around the world tend to focus on insect meal as feed for animals. They have amazing nutritional benefits – they are high in energy yield, rich in essential amino acids, etc. Moreover, they do not use much water and eat a lot, can be grown in organic waste, and in small spaces. Most importantly, they do not produce as much methane as conventional livestock. There are a few factors that can, and most likely will, lead to a situation where insects become a part of our standard diet. They include: population growth, food and feed insecurity, increasing demand for protein-rich food, and worlds’ hunger and malnutrition.