IN A DECADE, WE’LL ALL BE EATING INSECTS
ere’s something missing from your diet. It’s not a rare berry native to a remote corner of the Amazon, or a recently discovered super-leaf with 60 times the antioxidants of green tea. No, it’s something far more primal. It’s a foodstu that our ancestors have been consuming for aeons. And it represents the second largest biomass on earth. It’s insects.
Before you balk, hear me out. Almost every culture around the world has a bias against certain food groups. e Chinese view cheddar cheese the same way the UK views a scorpion on a stick – that’s to say, with revulsion. Haggis is banned in the US. In India, they won’t touch beef. What’s interesting, however, is that none of these biases are grounded in fact. ey’re the result of a few generations of conditioning. What’s more, they can change. irty years ago, most of us thought the idea of eating raw sh was disgusting. But then a chef in LA created the California Roll, hiding the raw sh in seaweed and rice, thereby reinventing sushi for Western palates. at’s what’s going to happen here with insects.
So why ght the psychological aversion? Insects are a genuine superfood – high in protein (the best kind, with all the essential amino acids) as well as healthy fats such as omega-3s. And they’re chock full of micronutrients. Crickets, for example, contain – gram for gram – more iron than beef and more calcium than milk. Whatever your nutritional goals might be, insects cam help you get there. “Crickets contain – gram for gram – more iron than beef and more calcium than milk”
Insects are uniquely sustainable, too. Traditional protein sources are terrible for the environment – livestock production currently accounts for more greenhouse gas emissions than trains, planes and cars combined. Insects, on the other hand, might be the most e cient form of protein on the planet. ey avoid almost all the negative environmental factors that accompany conventional protein sources, producing 80 times less methane than cattle and requiring ten times less feed to yield an equivalent amount of protein. e UN estimates that raising crickets for protein is 20 times more e cient.
When you consider the nutritional and environmental bene ts of consuming insects, adding them to your diet is a no-brainer. By combining insect ours with more traditional natural ingredients, we can create introductory dishes for this new food group. In other words, we can create a California Roll for insect cuisine.
In a world where there’s a sushi bar at Gatwick airport, it doesn’t seem a stretch to imagine more of us consuming insects. It’s the future of protein, and it’s happening now.