Discover the World of Entomophagy

3 November 2017 


Discover the World of Entomophagy

Edna Oliveros (pictured), Digital PR Executive, Builtvisible

Could eating insects be the way forward for all of us?


While many people may not be thinking this far ahead, it is predicted that by 2050 the world population will be around 9 billion. This means that food production will need to be almost double that of what it currently is. Animal farming and fishing won’t be sustainable routes to achieve this, and climate change and related water shortages may also have profound implications for how we produce our food, which means we may find the need to get a little creative. 

While insects are often considered to be pests by humans, entomophagy – or the eating of insects – has been around for tens of thousands of years. Though not common in the Western world, incorporating insects in your diet is practised by at least 2 billion people across the globe. 

The UN has previously urged people in a report to eat insects to help fight world hunger and reduce pollution. This is because insects provide food at an exceptionally low environmental cost; not only are they a healthy alternative to meat, they are far more eco-friendly. Farming insects releases less greenhouse gas emissions than with livestock, requires significantly less land to harvest and, in the case of crickets, they require 2,000 times less water than cattle to keep. 

Insects are not only delicious, but are rich in protein, good fats, calcium, iron and zinc. Astonishingly, wasps, bees and ants have more protein per gram than chicken. In fact, this super healthy food source offers between 13-77g of protein per 100g, versus the 19-26g of protein offered in 100g of chicken. 

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Entomophagy is practised by 2 billion people across the globe.


Furthermore, insects are far easier to digest. Barbara Nakagaki and Gene Defoliart in their Journal of Economic Entomology have estimated that up to 80% of a cricket is edible and digestible. This is much higher than chicken (55%), pigs and cattle (40%). 

Another reason to turn to entomophagy is to support the vital role that insects play in waste biodegradation. Beetle larvae, flies, ants and termites clean up dead plant matter and break down organic matter until it is fit to be consumed by fungi and bacteria, allowing the minerals and nutrients of dead organisms to be added to the soil for uptake by plants. 

If you’re keen to find out more about entomophagy, Western Exterminator have put together a practical guide where you can discover more about edible insects. And if the idea of eating insects doesn’t bug you, they’ve also shared some of their favourite insect recipes!  


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