“New” Addition to the Food Pyramid: Insects


Happy Friday everyone, hope y’all had a great week. Can I just say I told you so on the Adani press? Adani has lost over $50 billion of his net worth on paper as more people are looking into the fishiness of his operations.

I also hope everyone is enjoying some insight from other readers. I’ll be back soon with the regularly scheduled programming, but for now here’s some ~refreshing~ content from, nate.

And if you like what you read, go check out his website or hit him up on LinkedIn, he’s got lots of cool stuff in the pipeline.

Some Background

Last week, according to Yahoo, the European Commission authorized the larval form of lesser mealworm and a form of cricket for human consumption, essentially allowing the public to eat more bugs!

Ah, I can see the marketing now:

And there is likely more where that came from with eight more applications awaiting approval. The timing is uncanny as prices of foods that are high in protein content have increased drastically in 2022. From 2021 to 2022, the FAO Dairy Price Index and the FAO Meat Price Index both had their highest annual average increase since 1990.

If you do your own grocery shopping, this is not shocking news. The price of protein powder, chicken, and eggs have all increased with eggs, especially surprising consumers in December with an average price of $4.25 per dozen across the United States.

Okay, we get it; the price of everything we eat is increasing.

So, back to the topic of consuming bugs and insects. What are the benefits? What are the pitfalls? Is eating bugs a new concept? And is Fear Factor still a show? As a child, I vividly remember people eating cockroaches and other bugs on that show, quite entertaining if I say so myself.

Benefits of meal(worm) prepping

One of the most commonly touted benefits of eating insects is the environmental impact. According to DW, about 1/4 of the global warming pollution comes from food and most of that pollution stems from meat and dairy. So, if we replace current meat sources with bugs that need less resources and produce less waste, we could lower greenhouse gas emissions.

By how much? Well, that depends on adoption and a bunch of other variables, so I do not have an estimate and I would be skeptical of any estimate claiming to be accurate.

Another benefit is the possibility of lower cost food options. We talked about how bugs require less resources. Therefore, they can be produced at a lesser cost. This is why the United Nations talks about insects as a way to improve food security, see their report, Edible Insects, for more details.

A world with more food security and affordable products sounds cool to me, but the possibility of eating bugs every day is tough to accept since I’ve been taught to think of bugs as gross.

The last main benefit I’ve found mentioned by several sources is the nutrients. Apparently, many insects are high in protein, minerals, vitamins (step aside Flintstones), and unsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. So, insects may have a legitimate argument to be included at the dinner table due to containing many nutrients.

IFT lists seven reasons to eat insects but one reason states that they taste great, which seems subjective. However, IFT claims “people describe the taste of insects as nutty with a similar flavor to shrimp and chicken”. I’ll leave that one up to you – let me know if it tastes that good!

What’s so bad about bugs?

Although there are many positives associated with eating insects, there are some drawbacks. One negative is that many people are allergic to certain insects. Apparently, many people that are allergic to crustaceans are also allergic to insects, so be careful consuming your first bag of cricket chips.

Bacteria is also a commonly cited issue. Since bugs often feed on dead animals, rotten food, and human waste, there is a lot of pressure to farm the bugs in a clean environment, something that is not always the case in countries that are currently eating bugs.

Pesticides and toxins are also a concern, but insects on average do not contain more pesticides than the average livestock animal. Toxins are mainly a concern because of lack of knowledge. Similar to mushrooms, some insects contain harmful toxins that can kill you while others present no toxins at all.

All of these issues can hopefully be avoided in a regulated food producing environment. However, as we’ve witnessed with the avian flu, bacterial contamination in livestock, and other problems, some issues are difficult to avoid over time.

Besides these issues, one of the biggest issues for insects being introduced as a food source in the west could be adoption. Most people in the western world regard insects and bugs as disgusting. It’s hard to imagine eating one bug, let alone the dozens it would take to fill you up like a steak does.

However, many people across the globe enjoy consuming bugs as part of their diet. More on that below!

Eating bugs is old news

So, it turns out there are a lot of people already eating bugs and it is considered a delicacy in many areas of the world including Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

In fact, Entomophagy, the practice of eating insects, has been around for thousands of years and it is estimated that around two billion people eat insects every day around the world according to Yahoo.

Forbes has that estimate at 2.5 billion people, and between 150 and 200 species of edible insects are consumed in Southeast Asia alone.

So maybe it’s just time for the west to catch up.

Even though it isn’t a staple in the average western diet, edible insects might be more available than what you think. According to TIME, crickets are already being farmed successfully in Canada, for both human and animal consumption.

Those of you that watch Shark Tank may be excited to learn that Mark Cuban made a $100,000 investment in Chirp Chips, which makes high protein chips using cricket flour. After a quick google search, I learned they also make cookies… Which means I might be trying cricket cookies real soon.

In California there are more than 30 restaurants with insects on their menu. So, if you want to add some bug protein to your diet, there are places to find it!

Even if you don’t live in California, rest assured knowing that you eat several bugs a year while sleeping.

Saucy Brew Works

We’re back with the homies this Friday! What’s better to wash down some bugs with than a pint from Saucy Brew Works! They have fantastic pairings for insect consumption like Love You, Bye for crickets, Juicy ASAP for the dryer bugs, and sours for candied worms. Jokes aside, this place rocks, their beer is great, and you’ll probably catch me there at some point this weekend. Go check them out or order a case! #ad

Inspecting the insects

After reading into this hot topic, it seems like there is a legitimate argument to be made to have insects made into food. However, most people can agree the biggest challenge will be marketing the products to consumers and having people get over the “yuck” attitude around bugs and insects.

I doubt insect eating will be adopted quickly, but, if prices of other protein options like eggs and chicken continue to increase, then we might resort to crickets sooner rather than later.

And hey, if you present a warm chocolate chip cookie in front of me and tell me there is a little cricket dust in there, I’d give it a try.

Let’s have ourselves a weekend.

from, nate

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