Why eating insects makes sense: same protein, less fat than beef, better for the planet (Economist video)

From The Economist: "An unusual way to boost the food supply and feed people sustainably: by eating less meat, and more insects.

About 2 billion people already eat bugs. Mexicans enjoy chili-toasted grasshoppers. Thais tuck into cricket stir-fries and Ghanians snack on termites. Insects are slowly creeping onto Western menus as novelty items, but most people remain squeamish. Yet there are three reasons why eating insects makes sense.

First, they are healthier than meat. There are nearly 2,000 kinds of edible insects, many of them packed with protein, calcium, fibre, iron and zinc. A small serving of grasshoppers can contain about the same amount of protein as a similar sized serving of beef, but has far less fat and far fewer calories.

Second, raising insects is cheap, or free. Little technology or investment is needed to produce them. Harvesting insects could provide livelihoods to some of the world’s poorest people.

Finally, insects are a far more sustainable source of food than livestock. Livestock production accounts for nearly a fifth of all greenhouse-gas emissions – that’s more than transport. By contrast, insects produce relatively few greenhouse gases, and raising them requires much less land and water. And they'll eat almost anything."

Typical cattle requires roughly 8 pounds of feed to produce a single pound of beef. Insects on the other hand require only 2 pounds of feed to produce 1 pound of meat, making them four times as efficient.

Wikipedia has an article on Insect farming, and an open-source DIY kit is available.

Thailand is the world leader of insect farming and consumption. Here is how they do it: http://www.fao.org/docrep/017/i3246e/i3246e.pdf

Crickets are the latest health food craze - CNN - In the crowded health food market, there's a new bug taking hold - the cricket. http://bit.ly/1B1WNnB


Forget the vegetable patch! This kit lets you grow your own edible INSECTS to help cut down on meat eating. Daily Mail, 2013.

RT @CfA_research: The majority of shrimp allergic persons were found to be allergic to mealworm, so eat insects with caution! #FAAM2014 -- Why not eat insects as alternative protein source? Insect components are included in many processed foods, so you eat them already. Do we need to have a caution text: may contain traces of insects?

Entomophagy (eating insects): cricket chips and power bars taste like almonds with a hint of bacon. http://buff.ly/1D8dbSf -- McGill University Chirp reactor is a countertop cricket farm: Crickets are the gateway bug for people who haven’t eaten insects before. A beta version is currently on sale for $150, although Dzamba also offers DIY instructions for free.

Could insects be the wonder food of the future? BBC, 2014 http://buff.ly/1sJqCWu

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