By The Editors
The human population keeps growing – by 2050, it’s likely there will be 9 billion people on our planet – or our village. Food may become scarce. What can we do to make sure there is enough of it for the growing population? We need to think differently, and look across cultures to find ways for increasing food security.
Edible insects have always been a part of human diets. It is estimated that over 2 billion people normally eat them. Insects are considered delicacies in many parts of the world, particularly in the tropics. However, in many cultures, there is a main barrier to eating insects — “consumer disgust”.
To start educating the world about the benefits of edible insects, the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) released a few days ago a very interesting publication on this unexplored (for many of us) food source.
Insects are high in protein, fat and mineral contents. They can be eaten whole or ground into a powder or paste, and incorporated into other foods. According to the FAO publication, farming insects for human and animal consumption is particularly relevant at this time.
Population growth and urbanization have increased the demand for food while simultaneously harming the environment. Land and water pollution from intensive livestock production and over-grazing are leading to forest degradation, thereby contributing to climate change. Insect farming might help alleviate these problems.
Insect consumption is not expected to enter the Western culture in the immediate future. While waiting, it is important to raise awareness about the potential of insects as food, so to increase the level of acceptance among consumers — especially in the Western countries.