Agri-business News bugs

Published on April 13th, 2011 | by Jeannie Moulton

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Could You Eat Bugs?

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“The most important thing is getting people prepared, getting used to the idea. Because from 2020 onwards, there won’t be much of a choice for us.”

At least that’s what Prof. Marcel Dicke of Wageningen University said.

The argument is that much like that the UN made: that insects will become increasingly important as a protein source, as conventional meat becomes more scarce and expensive.

The argument for bugs

Insects are eaten by 80% of the countries in the world, but hardly any are eaten in the richer nations. Bugs are at least as healthy and nutritious as conventional meats, but more sustainable. Insects are low in cholesterol and high in protein.

A measure of sustainability is the “conversion factor.” It is sort of a ratio between the amount of food ingested by the animal to the amount of meat it produces.  For example, beef has a conversion factor of 44, while a cockroach’s is 10, meaning that the cockroach is a more efficient food source.

Knowingly or unknowingly, you are likely already consuming bugs. Unfortunately (or fortunately?), ground-up insects are already found in common foods such as canned tomatoes and peanut butter. They also inevitably end up on produce, which is a completely natural thing.

The argument against bugs

Since there are loads of people on the planet who get by just fine without eating animal products as their main protein source, what is the point of eating bugs if you don’t want to? It just doesn’t seem necessary.

It will be a hard sell trying to ‘get people used to’ insects in countries like the UK and the USA. Would people really rather eat bugs than vegetables if they couldn’t have the same easy access to meat?  Doubtful.

I say start now getting people used to the idea that vegetables, whole grains, nuts and pulses can provide all of the protein people need in their diets and that they aren’t second class food. This seems like a much more viable approach.

How do you feel about eating bugs? Have you ever tried them?

I never have.  Maybe I will…but probably only on a dare or after some apocalyptic event.

Source: The Guardian

Photo: Flickr Creative Commons by katesheets



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About the Author

I spent the last five years earning my PhD in Engineering. I enjoy all types of science and writing, so I am trying out a new career path in science publication and communication. Recently, I have moved to Oxford, England. As an environmentally-conscious person, Oxford is a great place to live...notably there is no car required. I love to talk about vegan cooking, plant-based diets and the benefits of such, so just ask if you are interested. I do ballet for fun and love kitties.



  • http://Web Anita

    Why for goodness sake should bugs be eaten? There’s plenty of really fresh nourishing food about in a vegetarian diet that keeps you healthy and full of energy.
    Poor little bugs leave them alone …like other animals should be left alone
    Get a grip …source the good food and eat properly!
    Happy veggie eating
    Anitax

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