There are few things that get us all fired up in this millennia quite like food trends. Good food is one of the universal pleasures that most of us share, so when a new trendy food crosses our timeline, the masses pay attention. However, when this new trend involves eating bugs, we have to question, are we ready for this?
For years we've watched reality TV shows/ultimate survivor style formats that have contestants chugging cockroaches like milkshakes, but now it seems the bug eating trend isn't just a media phenomenon, it's a legitimate, and sustainable, food choice.
The nutritional facts are undeniable
The big draw for eating insects comes down to one key nutrient – protein. As it turns out, bugs are a great source of protein, and are low in fat and carbohydrates, which is very exciting news for health enthusiasts.
Insects are also a rich source of amino acids and other vitamins and minerals such as iron and calcium.
Insects are a sustainable food source
The world’s population is growing, and world hunger and the management of resources is already an issue. Throw in climate change, and it’s becoming harder and harder to supply the food that the population demands, and there are few protein sources more practical than insects.
When you look at the numbers, insects require a whole lot less water, grain, energy and physical space to harvest than our current favourite protein sources (cows, chickens etc.). This means we can feed more people while doing less damage to our environment, budgets and resources, with bugs.
There are a lot of options
The internet references almost 2,000 species of insects that can be eaten by humans, so in just the same way as you select vegetables you like and dislike, it’s pretty likely that if you’re adventurous, you’ll find an insect species or two that are to your liking.
It’s already a part of many cuisines we’ve embraced
While Chinese cuisine has been popular worldwide for decades, the emergence of Japanese, Korean, Thai and Mexican cuisines into the mainstream western culture in undeniable. What all of these cuisines have in common, including Chinese food, is the inclusion of insects in their traditional grub.
It’s a global phenomenon
Apparently, about 80% of countries in the world consume insects currently. That doesn’t necessarily represent the majority of those populations, but insect eating is happening all over, nonetheless.
It probably won’t be taboo for long
There are so many things that we eat now that we would have never even considered eating in the past.
Raw fish used to be a no-no in western society, and nowadays it’s hard to find someone who isn’t a sushi fiend. Even our beloved chicken wings were seen as worthless once upon a time, and now they’re on pretty much every restaurant menu. And the beloved quinoa, which was once only consumed in South America, is now a hot commodity for health nuts everywhere.
Is it so crazy to think that a food source that is so cheap, nutritious and sustainable would eventually find its way into the stomach of the masses?
They’re easy to camouflage
If the thought of eating bugs is grossing you out, or the actual visual of edible insects turns your stomach, you can easily put it out of your mind and eat insects along with many of your current favourite foods. Just in the same way that you hide veggies in your lasagna or smoothies, you can easily put insects out of sight and mind while still eating them regularly.
Insects are already making a big splash in the protein powder market, and they work really well in this product category that isn’t known for being the tastiest to begin with. You can also find insects camouflaged in protein bar form, chip form, candy form, and they’re apparently really tasty when fried as well (although, what isn’t?).
Insects are even making their way into the gourmet market, with restaurants everywhere trying their hand at unique insect concoctions.
When you weigh all of the above, it’s pretty clear that there’s a very compelling argument for eating bugs, and the mental block that we’ve formed around it will be harder and harder to defend in the future.
In all practicality, bugs are the food of the future, and the sooner we get on board, the better it’ll be for our pockets and the environment.