“2,086 species of insect are eaten by 3,071 different ethnic groups in about 130 countries.” Bugged, by David MacNeal

Insects form a big part of everyday diets for around two billion people around the world. Yet, for many of the remaining 5.58 billion, just the thought of eating an insect is enough to cause revulsion.

As the human population continues to rise, so does food insecurity. Shortages, aggravated by resource depletion and ever more frequent climate events, will force us to reflect on current methods of food production, as well as our eating habits. Could insects be the superfood solution to this problem or are they just too much for most of us to stomach?

Set of insects on white. Pic by irin-k | Shutterstock.com
Set of insects on white. Pic by irin-k | Shutterstock.com

Planet of the insects

Six million types of insect inhabit our planet, with 10,000 new species discovered every year. In fact, 80% of all animals are insects and they are immensely important to the world’s ecosystems and to the global economy.

Most insect species are primary consumers and are a source of nutrients to animals further up the food chain. They also play a crucial role in the decomposition of waste products, as well as in the pollination plants and crops.

Food revolution or revulsion?

Entomophagy (from entomos, ‘insect’ and phagein, ‘to eat’) is by no means a recent fad. Insects have featured in human diets ever since our hunter-gather days. As the TED video below points out, bugs were enjoyed as delicacies throughout ancient times.

Then, at some point, we lost the taste for insects. The rejection of bugs as a food source probably coincided the spread of agriculture. Suddenly, insects would have been deemed a pest. And from rejection it’s not such a great leap to revulsion!

However, as we face the challenge of feeding an ever increasing population, entomophagy has begun to receive considerable interest from science, industry and the media.

Natural background, gnawed leaf with a lot of caterpillars, macro. Pic by Pelevina Ksinia | Shutterstock.com
Natural background, gnawed leaf with a lot of caterpillars, macro. Pic by Pelevina Ksinia | Shutterstock.com

Insects on the menu

The argument for the inclusion of insects into our diet is a strong one. Rich in protein, fibre, good fats and minerals, their nutritional value is undeniable.

As far as the environment is concerned, there are three key advantages. Firstly, raising and harvesting insects requires much less land than livestock. Next, insects convert food into protein much more efficiently than mammals, so they need less food to produce more product. Finally, they emit considerably fewer greenhouse gases than most livestock.

From Reykjavik to Christchurch – and many a city besides – insects are finding their way on to the menu.

“Waiter, waiter…there’s no fly in my soup!”

Or, if you prefer your creepy-crawlies home-cooked, here are a few recipes from ‘Oh my bug’ to get you started. So, what’s it going to be?…grasshopper pizza?…mealworm wraps?…or ant noodles?!

Towards food security

On paper, eating insects is a smart choice; it all makes perfect sense. Unfortunately, we’re humans and we aren’t particularly well-known for making rational decisions when it comes to lifestyle! After all, for most of us, food is not just about fuel. Food choices are deeply varied and culturally-determined.

People want something pleasurable to eat, to share and to talk about. If more of us are to adopt insects into our diets, more must be done make them appealing, not just beneficial. If that can be achieved, entomophagy could just catch on.

Alone, it will never be the silver bullet to achieving food security. However, coupled with other changes to farming methods, reductions in food waste and the diffusion of new agricultural technologies, it could have a part to play.

Slide BOOK / $24.95 Zoo Portraits Book | teNeues Zoo Portraits - English Version

A creative animal atlas. Lots of fun for everyone interested in animals and anyone who wants to join the movement to help protect them.

SHOP
Slide CUSHIONS / £28.00–£33.00 Evermade Cushions Size: 45cm x 45cm

Bring a taste of the wild home with you, as each animal presents their own unique character in this rather amusing collection of Zoo Portrait cushions.

SHOP
Slide PRINTS / £35.00–£170.00 Impresiones Evermade 30 X 30 cm / 50 x 50 cm - Optional frame

Printed on Heavyweight 240gsm matt fine art stock. Perfect as a gift or statement for your wall, whether they adorn the home or office they are sure to get people giggling!

SHOP
Slide CARDS & POSTCARDS / £2.50 Postcards by Lagom Now with color backgrounds!

Next time you need to send your wishes to a loved one, you can do it with a Zoo Portrait animal!

SHOP
Slide WRAP / £1.75 Gift wrap - paper by Lagom Colourful gift wrap

This fun and colourful gift wrap design from Zoo Portraits with a Lot of animals. Which one are you?

SHOP
Slide CALENDAR 2020 / 13.99 € Calendario Zoo Portraits 2020 teNeues Grid Calendar - 30 x 30 cm

12 funny Zoo Portraits -• 30 x 30 cm (opened 30 x 60 cm) -• 6-language calendar - Calendar grid includes lunar phases - International public holidays - Shrink-wrapped

SHOP

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here