The food of the future for all, eating Insects!
August 14, 2011 by Anna In Category Food
While world has remained fixated on the fast depleting non-renewable sources of energy such as oil with numerous conferences held to try and chart the future of life without oil and natural gas, there is another major problem that probably has not received as much attention – food scarcity in light of a growing global population.
Food aid is commendable but is never sustainable. With sporadic food riots since in some major cities in 2010 and 2011, it is clear that the time to look for sustainable, long term solutions is now. So how about eating insects for a change?
Disgusting? Yes – but only for the uninitiated. There are already many cultures all over the world where eating insects is an ordinary daily meal. Wax worms, silkworms, mealworms, cicada, insect kebabs, Mexican Chapulines, spiders, grasshoppers and water bugs are all permanent feature in grocery markets in many parts of the world.
In fact, the only place where bugs do not hold a significant place on the dinner table nowadays is in Western countries. How long though can we continue to ignore this easy to extract and low cost source of food?
Remember that insects and bugs far outnumber human beings. In fact, it is estimated that even for a single insect type such as an ant, there are about 1 million ants for every human being alive today. Some experts have estimated that the collective weight of all ants on the planet exceeds the collective weight of all humans.
What’s even more amusing is that every human being eats a substantial proportion of insect life unknowingly each year – at least one pound. It could be a tiny ant stuck in beef or, shudder the thought, a bug chopped together with the vegetables. Few people if any will fall ill for eating these bugs unknowingly – only when we realize we could have eaten an insect does our imagination go into overdrive and nausea sets in.
Insect extract already form part of foods and substances that come into close contact with our mouths and stomachs. Cochineal beetles for instance are the source of cochineal extract which is used as coloring for many mainstream foods and beverages in addition to its role in lipstick.
In short, there is nothing dangerous about eating most insects – many in fact are far richer in proteins and vital nutrients than other foods – all it will need is a change in mind set. Older persons will of course have greater difficulty transitioning into menus that contain insects.
Younger persons are more likely to try new things and this could be the best entry point for insect meals not just on dinner tables but in first class restaurants too.