News Stories

Insects As Food Of The Future?

As the human population grows, it is critical that the drain on the planet’s resources be lessened by decreasing consumption of animal protein. According to two panel discussions on June 23 and 24 at the 2014 Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Annual Meeting & Food Expo® in New Orleans, insects are a promising, economically viable alternative source of high quality protein that leave a substantially smaller environmental footprint.

The world adds about 70 million people each year to the population. If worldwide growth continues at the current rate, the population is expected to reach more than 9 billion by 2050, adding twice the current population of China. Approximately 70 percent of agricultural land, and 30 percent of the total land on earth, is currently used to raise livestock, the world’s main source of protein.

“Insects require less feed, less water, less land, and less energy to produce and their production generates substantially lower environmental pollutants, such as pesticides and greenhouse gases,” said Aaron Dossey, Ph.D., founder/owner of All Things Bugs LLC, in Gainesville, Florida, a company that provides protein-rich insect powder for commercial use.

According to Florence Dunkel, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Entomology at Montana State University and editor of Food Insects Newsletter, “Eighty-five insect species in the U.S. are documented as potential food sources; worldwide, there are 1,900 species.” She cites locusts, grasshoppers, crickets, silk moth pupae, and beetle and moth larvae among the top insects consumed as food, worldwide.

While insects are considered tasty and nutritious in other countries, including Thailand, Mexico and Uganda, Americans are less enthusiastic about eating bugs.

“We have to overcome the ‘ick’ factor,” said Laurie Keeler, Senior Manager-Food product Development, the Food Processing Center, University of Nebraska. “It’s a cultural barrier that has to be overcome. We have spent a lot of time worried about insects getting into food; now we want to encourage eating insects as food.”

Most insects are a rich source of high-quality, highly digestible protein. “Some insects are as much as 80 percent protein by weight and provide more essential amino acids than most animal proteins,” said Dr. Dossey. “They are also rich in nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids.”

On a dry weight basis, crickets contain as much omega-3 fatty acids as salmon.

“Western cultures’ aversion to the use of edible insects as a food source is a serious issue in human nutrition. But it’s the way forward into a sustainable world environment,” said Dr. Dunkel.

Some entrepreneurs, such as Patrick Crowley are making it happen. Crowley is the founder of Chapul Cricket Bars, the first company in the United States to use insects as source of nutrition. At Chapul, he is directly challenging the existing perceptions of insects as food by producing, marketing, and selling an energy bar, in a variety of flavors, made with high-protein cricket powder.

“It’s an exciting time to be the forefront of this budding industry,” said Crowley.

While in some countries, insects are harvested in the wild, such practices are typically inefficient and involve risks from environmental toxins and pathogens. Insects, such as crickets and mealworms, can be efficiently farmed in an industrial setting free from contaminants. In fact, samples from insect farms in the U.S. and Europe have been tested for contaminants that sometimes present problems in foods from animal sources, such as salmonella, listeria, E. coli, or Staphylococcus aureus, and have been found to be free of contaminants.

There are a number of challenges for quality mass production of insects that still must be overcome, but the expert panels agreed that insects as a source of food is the way of the future.

  • Image Credit:
  • MorgueFile

This is a great idea. Insects chopped up and made unrecognizable to the squeemish at heart ( or is that stomach?). Chris O'Brien and his latest book mentions that 70% of acres in America are for growing feed for Cow, pigs, chickens. This is crazy! Plus to make matters worse the farmer ( more like industrial food corporations ) can use more pesticides which pollutes ground water with runoff. I look forward to growing steaks in a lab. This makes much more sense. This would also come in handy for Space Travel. Underground facilities that are a sort of Noahs ark, but for only a selective few tens of thousands, to carry on in case of nuclear war, Solar Plasma Event, Asteroid Strike. All are self sustaining and will help mankind emerge to start anew with all the advances we have made in the last thousand years. I not one of those chosen specialist, but this is what I would do if I had the position and power to make it happen. Something big is coming, sooner rather than later. And as REM put it so poetically ' Its the End of the World as we Know it, and I feel fine ' This is how I feel. This Dollarocracy we live in needs to be cleansed and Spirit is going to make Earth anew again as it has many times before.

I can't recommend enough the work of Carl G Jung and his POV on synchronicities and UFOs. It makes so much sense. Manifested Pychisms would explain all the different shape ships, aliens, crypto creatures, and seeing your dead relative. Whitley has an especially strong imagination that propels his Manifested Pychisms into his reality and sometimes those around him. That thing in your ear is exactly what you would imagine they would do. Something to monitor your life. Its been in the back of your mind ever since the late 80s. Congratulations Whitley, you have been chosen to be a modern Shaman. Tis be better than the life you had before this all happened. You don't need lots of money to find happiness in this life and you have adjusted to a more modest life style with grace and humility. Hats off to you and Ann. May God Bless you both!

I've always said that if pet food manufacturers wanted to make a blend cats would really go for - it should taste like moths, grasshopper, beetles & crickets with a little bird and mice meat for texture. One time I gave my cats a can of beef variety - they looked at me like I was crazy - what domestic cat ever hunted a cow or a tuna for that matter?

Predators including our pets instinctively know how to find protein in nature. Perhaps there's a lesson for us there. Remember the kid's plexiglass ant farms? They could be adapted for other bug species. Raise your own dinner - make bugloaf!

Oh, i can't wait yummy insects for the poor zombies at the bottom of the gene pool who cause global warming. Let us all eat insects while the mega ultra rich elite jew bankers live the life of absolute opulence & blame us poor humans for destroying the planet. This is a ridiculous article & clearly shows how far we have been led down the rabbit hole. Monsanto GMO insects for the brain damaged masses, poisoned air & water all caused predominately by big zionist controlled corporations. This is agenda 21 & we are being dehumanised & humiliated by demons in suits.

garlic is yummy!

This story and all the others like it are simply propaganda to brain-train the unwashed masses into accepting bugs for food. Mr Crazz is right!

Yes, I admit, as a small child, my spiteful older sister dared (goaded) me to eat hoppers, ants and worms... and I was never one to chicken out, no matter what! The result is that I know exactly how horrible they taste. The only reason to rely on bugs for food is for last-resort survival. I bet if given a c.h.o.i.c.e of any food to eat, people would never select bugs over real food.

Don't fall for brainwashing tactics. Bugs carry parasites and who know what disease they might transmit to us. Remember, you are what you eat!

This is ridiculous. A vegan diet provides everything you need. There's no need to eat bugs. As long as one eats a variety of plants and gets enough calories for their daily needs then they will get enough protein.

Subscribe to Unknowncountry sign up now