Have you ever imagined yourself eating a worm-burger, a grasshopper-taco or an insect-cookie? Probably not. For many people, it is hard to think of insects as a sumptuous source of food. This might change in the future.
According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, the world will have to produce 70 percent more food in order to feed a projected extra 2.3 billion people in 2050. Current problems on agricultural lands, rising temperatures, decreasing yields, and lack of water, among others, will likely worsen in the near future. There is an increasing need to find new ways of nourishing humanity, ways that are more environmentally friendly, emit less greenhouse gases (GHG), and are sustainable.
Insects could be a viable solution to many – or all – of these problems, as shown in this TEDx video with Prof. Marcel Dicke. Insects produce much smaller quantities of GHG than conventional livestock; eg, a pig produces between ten and a hundred times as much GHG per kilogram compared with mealworms, and between 8 and 12 times as much ammonia per kilogram of growth compared to crickets. Insects are an environmentally friendly alternative source of protein, minerals and vitamins.
Even though more than 1,000 types of insects are eaten around the world, many western societies are still reluctant to do it; eating insects is still a taboo. I know that it sounds disgusting, nevertheless, it is not such a bad idea: I have personally eaten dried grasshoppers a few times in Mexico City. At the beginning, it was difficult to think that I was chewing insects, but after the first time, it got more and more easy. When I eat grasshoppers now, I even enjoy their taste; they basically taste like chips.
Our future, and the future of our kids, will be defined by our capacity to adopt a new lifestyle and change our paradigms- so bon appetit!