In the last few years, we’ve witnessed a growing appetite for eating bugs. Even since the launch of the Future Food Salon Series in 2011, we've noticed a change in attitude that has audiences responding with greater curiosity and more of an open mind to entomophagy.
The recent UN Report, Edible Insects: Future Prospects for Food and Feed Security and the anticipated World FAO Congress on Entomophagy in Rome in 2014, have focused interest on how the planet plans to feed more than 9 billion people by 2050. Currently, an estimated 2 billion people include insects in their diet; nevertheless, in the west, there remains a taboo about eating bugs.
Crickets in particular make for excellent eating. Here are five reasons why.
- Nutrition. Crickets are nutritious. Cooked weight protein rates, gram for gram, are comparable to chicken and beef. They are also rich in omega-3 fats and high in iron.
- Sustainability. Cricket farming is more sustainable than 20th-century-style livestock rearing. Cricket rearing is less taxing on water resources, land resources, and produces less methane. And because insects do not produce fur, bones or hair, there is less waster, and their ratio of feed to protein produced is excellent.
- Distribution. Cricket farming can be managed in a decentralized way. With Dzamba’s farms, which sit on a single square metre of land, and with his new counter-top prototypes, every household could become a producer, feeding their mini-livestock kitchen scraps.
- Environment. Crickets are found throughout the planet, so the risk of an environmental disaster through the escape of crickets represents little threat to existing eco-systems. And the rearing of crickets is much more sustainable than current livestock rearing.
- Ethics. Crickets can be euthanized in a humane manner. Freezing them, which causes their metabolism to slow down, means that when they are cooked, they are asleep.
Photo Credit: Michael Cumming 2013.