According to the Entomological Society of America insects often contain more protein and are lower in fat than conventional meats such as beef and pork. Insects are high in calcium and iron, and can be eaten alive, toasted, grilled, freeze-dried or canned for preservation. There are over 800,000 species of insects living on our planet and it's estimated that there are many more that have not yet been discovered! About 1,500 species are part of current human diets throughout the world. Bugs that are enjoyed as food include crickets, mealworm, silkworm, grasshoppers, locusts, scorpions, ants, water bugs, bamboo worm, sago worm, among many others.
On average, we consume insects everyday without realising. According to The U.S Food and Drug Administration, chocolate may have a total of 60 insect particles per 100g, tomato sauce 30 fly eggs per 100g, ground cinnamon may have up to 800 insect fragments and peanut butter often contains about 30 bug bits per 100g. This of course is completely natural and causes no harm to human health!
DID YOU KNOW?
Insects convert organic waste such as grass, leaves, legumes, fruit pulp, and vegetables into edible protein. Unlike cattle, insects do not need to consume large quantities of cereal or grain in order to produce this protein. This reduces financial costs and land usage that is needed for the production of livestock feed.
DID YOU KNOW?
It is estimated that there are over 200 million insects to every one human. Insects reproduce rapidly and require just two kilograms of feed for every one kilogram of weight gained. This is because insects do not convert their feed to body weight in the way traditional livestock such as cattle and poultry do.
As the human population continues to increase, land for agricultural use continues to decrease. It is estimated that by 2020 there will be over 9 billion people living on the earth—that is 2 billion more than today! If there are more people then there is a greater demand for food and land. Natural resources are already limited and food prices are increasing rapidly. Global warming caused by livestock is also effecting both human health and climate change so there is a genuine need for a more sustainable system of food production. In comparison to traditional livestock such as cattle or pigs, insects release far fewer greenhouse gases, require much less land space and human management, and reproduce at a much quicker rate.
Insects are ectotherms meaning that they rely on environmental heat sources such as the sun to survive. Animals and birds are endotherms and need to heat themselves up in order to survive. The benefit of this is that insect farming requires far less energy than animal farming which in turn reduces production and management costs.