Eating insects, is it really that crazy?

Recently I was on one of the more notable social media sites and there was a post that was drawing a lot of attention, most of it citing disgust.

The post was about baking bread containing flour made from ground cockroaches.

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Most people were quite reactive to the post, showing little interest in even being willing to try the bread based on curiosity.

In North America the idea of consuming insects as part of our regular diets is admittedly foreign. The reason is probably as simple as the fact we have not needed to munch insects because there is an abundance of what we see as better choices.

We have solidly placed insects into the ‘icky’ and ‘eww’ compartment of our brains.

It is however rather ironic to think that so many of us enjoy shrimp, and are willing to pay rather high prices for lobster, which are both essentially ‘sea bugs’ that scurry around the ocean floor foraging for food among whatever happens to have passed through a fish as it swam by overhead.

In terms of ‘eww’ people might want to follow some free-range chickens one day and see just what they are willing to peck at to find food.

And let us not forget that many cheeses are enjoyed with mould as part of the taste experience.

So adding insects to our diets wouldn’t be much of a stretch once we get past the internal barriers we have created for no good reason except we have been taught bugs are not to be eaten.

It turns out however that a large number of insects are quite edible, from certain types of scorpions, and cockroaches through to flies, bees and mealworms.

Now you would certainly want to be knowledgeable regarding source and preparation of any bugs, although that is good advice for anything we eat, but the take away here is that insects could be a source of food moving forward.

We know two things are part of our current reality, our world population is growing, and the arable land base to grow food upon is shrinking. If those two things continue, one day current farming will not be able to feed the world.

Enter bugs stage right.

Many insects have surprisingly high nutritional value, the aforementioned cockroach flours being a good source of added protein. The flour made of cockroaches, developed by two scientists from the Federal University of Rio Grande in Brazil, contains 40 per cent more protein than normal wheat flour.

In terms of feeding the world that may become significant, especially since insects can often be raised on foodstuffs not directly in competition with humans, and they require less room and produce less waste than traditional livestock.

So it may not be that long before a legitimate farm option will be raising cockroaches, mealworms and crickets to help feed the world.