Eating Insects - Food to Feed People and Help the Environment

Mealworms are the larval form of a beetle. They are edible for humans as well as this European robin.
Mealworms are the larval form of a beetle. They are edible for humans as well as this European robin. | Source

The Protein Solution

The idea of eating insects is repulsive to some people and mouth watering to others. Insects are an optional part of our diet at the moment, but they may be required in the future. They are actually a protein-rich and nutritious food that can be produced with far fewer resources than traditional farm animals. Farming insects is also a much more environmentally friendly method of food production than other farming methods.

Many cultures and countries already eat insects, a process known as entomophagy. Deep fried insects are a popular snack in countries such as Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, for example. Almost everyone else eats insects, too, although they may not realize this. Many foods obtained from plants contain tiny bits of insect bodies. These "enriched" foods include some vegetables, fruits and grains, peanut butter, many spices and chocolate.

Many experts say that a food crisis is looming. The Earth's population is continuing to grow, but the increase in the amount of food available isn't keeping pace. We will almost certainly have to turn to non-traditional sources of food for at least some of our calories in the not too distant future. Insects are a prime candidate for one of these new foods.

Deep fried bamboo worms, which are the larval form of a moth called the bamboo borer
Deep fried bamboo worms, which are the larval form of a moth called the bamboo borer | Source

Entomophagy around the World

Insects have been eaten by humans for thousands of years. It's estimated that at least 1,900 different insect species have been used as a food source. Examples include crickets, grasshoppers and locusts, cockroaches, beetles, termites, ants, bees and wasps, caterpillars and mealworms. Bugs are widely eaten, too. In North America, the word "bug" is often used by the general public to mean "insect", but bugs are actually a distinct order of the class Insecta.

Humans eat all stages of an insect's life cycle - adults, nymphs (immature stages), pupae and eggs. Today some insects are farmed, but in many countries they are caught by local people and provide an important source of income.

Insects are sometimes eaten raw but are often cooked. Preparation techniques include boiling, roasting, grilling and baking. Insects are also stir-fried, deep fried or added to porridge or rice. In many parts of the world today, insects are considered to be a delicacy.

Buying and Eating Insects at a Thailand Food Market

Feeding an Increasing Population

The world's population is currently over seven billion people. It's projected to reach eight billion people by 2025 and nine billion by 2050.

The United Nations has published some frightening statistics in relation to the production of food for humans.

  • Food production must double by 2050 in order to support everybody on Earth.
  • More than one billion people on Earth are hungry (as of 2009).
  • The diet of two billion people is deficient in micronutrients.

At the moment, more than two thirds of the agricultural land on Earth is used for growing feed for livestock in order to supply the increasing demand for meat. Only eight percent of the land is used to grow food for humans.

Professor Arnold van Huis is an entomologist at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. With reference to our increasIng desire for meat, he's been quoted as saying "If we continue like this we will need another Earth".

The sight of a cow contentedly grazing in a field is becoming less common as factory farms become more abundant.
The sight of a cow contentedly grazing in a field is becoming less common as factory farms become more abundant. | Source

Environmental Problems Caused By Meat Production

Animal farming methods can cause big problems for the environment. These problems are becoming more serious because fields filled with free roaming livestock are disappearing in many parts of the world. Industrial or factory farming is taking over. In these operations, animals are crowded into enclosures and produce concentrated waste, runoff and odour.

  • 18% of greenhouse gases are produced by farm animals, including 37% of the methane and 9% of the carbon dioxide.
  • The huge factory farms that are becoming more and more common use large amounts of energy and fresh water.
  • Runoff filled with animal waste causes soil erosion and damages the environment.
  • Forests and grasslands around the world are being destroyed to make room for livestock.
  • Antibiotics are given to many farm animals to keep them healthy and to enhance their growth. There are concerns that the presence of these medications in meat is contributing to antibiotic resistance in humans.

Cows behaving normally in a field
Cows behaving normally in a field | Source

Economic and Environmental Benefits of Eating Insects

Insects are abundant on Earth. Of course, even abundant animals can face population problems as a result of human pressure. Insects can be farmed, however. They produce many offspring and have a high reproductive rate.

Economics

Raising insects for food has important economic advantages compared to raising traditional livestock. Unlike mammals and birds, insects don't use food to produce heat to warm their bodies. They are therefore very efficient at converting the food that they eat into tissue that can nourish humans.

According to FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), 2 kg of feed is needed to produce 1 kg of insect meat, while 8 kg of feed is required to produce 1 kg of beef. Another common estimate states that 10 kg of feed produces 9kg of meat in insects and only 1kg of meat in cows. Although the numbers are quite different, the general results are the same in both estimates - insects produce a much larger amount of food for humans than cows when given the same amount of feed.

Environment

Farming insects also has environmental benefits compared to farming other livestock. Insects produce much less ammonia, methane and other greenhouse gases than traditional farm animals. FAO says that insects can also be used to break down waste, composting the waste as they feed.

Edible Insects in Candy - Really!

Nutritional Benefits of Eating Insects

Some people might think that farming insects is pointless because a huge number of insects are required to produce as much meat as one cow. Many nutritionists say that North Americans are eating far more meat than is necessary for their health, however. In fact, the ingestion of excessive amounts of red meat has been linked to health problems. The big, juicy steak may become a thing of the past sooner than some people would like.

Insects are a nutritious food source. An in-depth analysis of the nutrients in insects hasn't been performed, however. We can't find insects on the online nutrient databases that are available, although we may be able to one day. It is known that insects are an excellent source of protein, though, as well as a great source of vitamins and minerals, including calcium, iron and zinc

Marcel Dicke is another professor at Wageningen University. In the TED video below, he outlines the benefits of eating insects. He raises the point that many of us enjoy eating shrimp, which are relatives of insects. He says that we need to change our mindset to appreciate insects as food.

Why Not Eat Insects?

An Edible Insect Poll

Are you willing to eat insects?

See results without voting

Insects as Food in North America

Giving people who have never eaten insects before a plate of whole animals to ingest is probably not the best strategy for encouraging entomophagy. Grinding roasted insects into a powder and mixing the powder with other foods may be. This is the strategy that some companies in the United States are using. They hope that the disguised insects will be more palatable than the intact ones.

Some examples of food producers in the United States that are adding insects to foods include the following companies. There are many more. A company called Chapul sells energy bars containing traditional ingredients plus cricket flour. Mama Bird provides granola containing insect protein on request. A company called Six Foods sells a product called chirps. Chirps are baked chips (crisps) made from roasted cricket flour and bean flour. The planned name for the chips is amusing, but I wonder if it will backfire on the producers. People may not want to be reminded of living insects as they eat a snack. Six Foods also sells chocolate chirp cookies.

Deep-fried insects on sale in Thailand
Deep-fried insects on sale in Thailand | Source

Contamination of Foods With Insect Parts

People in North America already practice entomophagy to a limited extent due to the presence of insects in foods that come from plants. According to the University of California, an average American today eats an estimated two pounds of dead insects and insect parts every year.

It's sometimes said that no one is really a vegan (a person who eats no animals) because of the insect contamination of plants. Although this is true, I think that the vegan diet still has value for someone who wants to protect animals. The more animals that are protected the better, even if some animals aren't helped by a person's efforts.

A father and son dig for crickets, a popular food item in Laos
A father and son dig for crickets, a popular food item in Laos | Source

Eating Insects or Entomophagy

If you want to try eating insects, it might be a good idea to try one of the insect flour products first. They are available online if you can't find them locally. You might be able to find whole insects on the menu in ethnic restaurants. Some ethnic markets may sell edible insects, too.

If you want to collect or farm your own insects, make sure that each insect that you eat is truly edible. If you read that "grasshoppers" are edible, for example, remember that there are many different species of grasshoppers. You need to discover which species in your area are safe if you plan to eat them. Some insects are edible in one stage of their life cycle but not in another, so this is another factor to consider. You also need to find out if your chosen insects are safe only when cooked. Wageningen University maintains a list of edible insects from around the world.

Edible insect cookbooks have interesting recipes for people keen to explore the world of entomophagy. It's important to remember that living insects play vital roles in our lives, however. Trapping or breeding insects for culinary use mustn't harm the populations of wild insects.

References and Further Reading

The Food Crisis

Allowable Insect Parts in Food

The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has published a Defects Level Handbook which lists the permissible level of contaminants - including insects - in foods. For example, the hops used to make beer may contain no more than 2,500 aphids per 100 grams of hops. I suggest that you don't look at this document just before eating!

© 2014 Linda Crampton

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Comments 102 comments

RachaelOhalloran profile image

RachaelOhalloran 2 years ago from United States

We eat animals so I guess why not insects? I think, for me, the idea of eating them is repulsive because of spending so many years killing them as pests. I probably will be among the starving. LOL Thanks for sharing. :)


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, Rachel. Yes, insects are just another type of animal to eat, although some people may not see them in this way! Thanks for the visit.


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 2 years ago from California Gold Country

I just saw a "Shark Tabk" episode featureing Chapul cricket flour products. I could be convinced to try it. We should be open to the idea of an inexpensive, easily produced, source of high protein food.

Many of us could not imagine eating raw fish-- but sushi/sashimi has now become very popular. Hurdling the mental barriers is the challenge.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

I agree, Rochelle. Overcoming the mental barrier is the biggest challenge to eating insects. We certainly do need to be open to the idea of eating them. I think that conventional products containing the addition of cricket flour (or flour made from another insect) are the best foods to ease people into entomophagy.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

Put chocolate on it and I'll eat anything. :) Interesting article...definite "food for thought." LOL


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Chocolate does solve a lot of problems! Thanks for the visit, Bill.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

Hi alicia, fascinating read, I never though about the fact that we do eat insects in our foods by mistake, especially the hops! lol! love the chirp cookies! But of course if its necessary one day then that's the way to go, would I eat them? maybe, not sure! great hub, voted up and shared, nell


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the comment, the vote and the share, Nell. I'm sure that many people are in the "not sure" category when considering whether or not to eat insects! It would be a lot easier to accept eating them if we had grown up with the idea instead of facing the decision as adults.


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 2 years ago from California

Being a long time vegetarian, I probably would choose not to eat insects, but I understand that they provide a much needed protein source for many people--interesting and informative article!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, Audrey. Yes, insects would be a good source of protein for people who have trouble getting this nutrient from another source. Thanks for the comment!


SpaceShanty profile image

SpaceShanty 2 years ago from United Kingdom

Excellent Hub, I was going to create one on the same topic but it would just be inferior to yours. Voted up and shared.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you so much for the very kind comment as well as the vote and the share, SpaceShanty! I appreciate your visit.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

How fascinating. At first I was simply repulsed, but as I read further you provided some logical arguments that made me reconsider. I wouldn't be first in line to try them, but rather than starve okay. I would like mine deep fried like crunchy onion rings. Such an interesting topic.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, Flourish. Deep fried insects with the addition of onion rings and spices would be a great preparation method for a person's first attempt at eating whole insects! Thanks for the comment.


Alphadogg16 profile image

Alphadogg16 2 years ago from Texas

Very interesting article AliciaC with some very valid points, however I don't think I could ever bring myself to put in insect in my mouth, seasoned with spice, cooked or otherwise, just couldn't do it. Thumbs up on your hub though.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the comment and the up vote, Alphadogg16, especially since you hate the thought of eating insects!


bdegiulio profile image

bdegiulio 2 years ago from Massachusetts

Hi Linda. How interesting. I think I would consider this, especially if I was hungry enough. Certainly we need to find other sources of food as the world population grows. This might be just the answer. Great hub, thanks for the education.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi Bill. Thanks for the visit and the comment. Yes, we are going to have to find new ways to feed the world in the future. It's a problem that we need to think about now!


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

You've presented some interesting facts here, AliciaC. It does take a lot of land to raise cattle and animals destined for food. For a couple of years, I raised emu as an alternative food source, but couldn't continue the practice when the time grew closer to harvesting. They had unique personalities and individual behaviors and I had grown fond of them.

I doubt I will go for the eating of insects (knowingly), however, I will continue to eat shrimp despite their distant relationship to insects. These rank high among my favorite foods and having caught shrimp live out of the ocean, I know where they've been. Bugs, on the other hand, live in soil and other stuff that sort of turns me away.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi Peg. I'm sure that if I raised animals for food I wouldn't be able to harvest them either! Your comment about emus having individual personalities was interesting. Thank you very much for the visit.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

I did know of the chocolate covered ants, but I do not think I could eat any insects, although I know many cultures consider them to be delicacies. I guess if one had no other choice, then it may be a whole different story.

I did know some have a great deal of protein, but it seems one would have to eat loads of them to get full and provide enough protein ...eeks.

Voted up +++ and away

You always present interesting articles.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the comment and the vote, Faith. I suspect that quite a lot of people would agree with you - they'll eat insects only if this is absolutely necessary! It will be interesting to look at the results of the poll.


starbright profile image

starbright 2 years ago from Scandinavia

Great, interesting hub. Thanks for sharing - bon appétit! Voted up and shared.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much, starbright! I appreciate your comment, the vote and the share.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

What an intriguing hub Alicia. Insects don't sound appealing to me, but I can imagine I would eat them if it was absolutely necessary or if they were disguised in some way. Being fried or mixed into some other food would probably be the most edible way. I can see that they could become an important food stuff in the future as other food sources are depleted and there will always be a ready supply of insects. Voted up.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, Jodah. Thanks for the comment and the vote. Yes, I think insects will become an important food source in the future. Like you, I would eat them if it was absolutely necessary!


DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Sounds scrumptious no for me thank you


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

I understand your point of view! Thanks for the visit, Devika.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 2 years ago

I can think of many ways to eat an insect but if it's dipped in chocolate I'll try it. This was quite an interesting post and well done - makes you think!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, Dianna. Yes, covering insects with chocolate could be a good way to prepare them! I'm sure it would appeal to some people. Thanks for the visit.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 2 years ago from United States

This is an interesting hub and I know some people do eat insects regularly. That still seem repulsive to me though. Maybe with chocolate - I've heard of chocolate covered ants, etc. I have not really thought about this before, so good for you in choosing a topic of interest.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you for the comment, Pamela. We may all have to think about eating insects at some point. I wonder what they taste like when they're covered with chocolate?!


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

This is definitely a reality. If people want to eat, they'll have to deal with it, though most of the world, like you said, is already part of this practice.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, Deb. Yes, I think that eating insects may be a reality quite soon. We may all have to get used to it! Thanks for the visit.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 2 years ago from malang-indonesia

Hi, Alicia. Thanks for the information. There are few people in my country who like to eat insect. It looks delicious if it fried. Good job as always and Voted up!

Prasetio


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, Prasetio. It's interesting that eating insects is so popular in some countries but so unpopular in others! Thanks for the interesting comment and the vote.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

I don't think I could ever eat a bug with legs intact and all, but as long as you ground it up and I didn't know what it really was I might take a bite. I think it's just a cultural preference, as you have said, but something that definitely should not be neglected as a food source. Interesting hub!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, Mel. Yes, I think that insects that are ground up and added to other food would be much more popular than intact insects with legs! Thanks for the comment.


stricktlydating profile image

stricktlydating 2 years ago from Australia

Interesting! A great read.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 2 years ago

Congratulations on the HOTD! This is a well researched and designed post filled with fascinating facts and information. I'm not one to say "never" but this idea comes pretty close. You just never know when you may have to indulge in such delicacies.


heidithorne profile image

heidithorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

Though this would not normally be palatable to Americans, it is an alternative that should be explored. Great discussion in this hub! Congrats on a well deserved Hub of the Day Award!


DealForALiving profile image

DealForALiving 2 years ago from Earth

I really wouldn't know what insects to start with if I were to start eating them. I imagine that crickets would be tasty but what about hornets? I don't think I'm ready yet!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thanks for the comment, stricktlydating.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, Dianna. Thanks for the congratulations and the comment. I expect that many people would say that they could never eat insects! As you say, though, it may one day be necessary.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thanks for the congrats, Heidi! Yes, I think that the idea of adding insects to the diet is a good option to explore.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, DealForALiving. Companies in North America seem to be using crickets as the insect in their food. There are many other edible insects available, though. Perhaps one day consumers will have a wide choice of insect types to choose from! At the moment, though, I suspect that many people would agree with you and say that they're not ready to start eating insects yet.


btrbell profile image

btrbell 2 years ago from Mesa, AZ

What an interesting and informative hub! When I was a little girl, my father brought home a"delicacy" It was a small box of chocolate covered ants, grasshoppers and I'm not sure what else! He loved it while we squealed in protest! I am still squealing inside at the rhought of eating insects!

Congratulations on a well deserved HOTD! Up++


nightcats profile image

nightcats 2 years ago from North Vancouver

It makes spence intellectually but I would have to overcome a lot of programming first.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 2 years ago from Northern California, USA

Very helpful information. I once saw a documentary which stated that insects are put in some very common foods. For example, there is an insect that a popular yogurt company uses to produce the red color in their strawberry yogurt product. My first thought was, "Yuk!" But, now after reading your article, I might need to ease up on my first reaction. And, congratulations on receiving Hub of the Day!


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Stopped by to congratulate you on the Hub of the Day, today, AliciaC. Nicely done and well deserved.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you for the comment and the vote, btrbell. I love chocolate, but even so I'd rather eat powdered insects mixed with other foods than chocolate covered insects!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

I would have to overcome my programming, too, nightcats! Thanks for the visit.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

I'm back to say Congratulations on HOTD. This was an excellent hub and very deserving of this accolade. Sharing in case folks miss it this holiday weekend.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, MarleneB. Yes, cochineal insects produce a natural red dye called carmine. I discovered this fact when I was a child. It was quite a shock for me to learn that some of the foods that I had been eating were coloured by an insect! Thank you very much for the congratulations.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the second visit and the congratulations, Peg!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thanks for the congratulations, Flourish. Thank you very much for the share, too. That's so kind of you.


sallybea profile image

sallybea 2 years ago from Norfolk

Congratulations on your HOTD - very well deserved too. The image of that little Robin just drags one into this hub. Interesting how we have this thing against eating insects. In Africa I often saw the local people catching flying ants which came out after a storm in their hundreds of thousands. They fried them in butter and apparently they taste delicious but I could never bring myself to taste them:)

Sally


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Insects fried in butter - what an interesting thought! Thanks for sharing the information, Sally. Thanks for the congratulations, too.


SusanDeppner profile image

SusanDeppner 2 years ago from Arkansas USA

Very interesting information, but I hope I never have to eat insects on purpose. Congratulations on your very nicely done HOTD!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the comment and the congratulations. SusanDeppner. Yes, the idea of eating insects on purpose is challenging for many of us, including me!


bethperry profile image

bethperry 2 years ago from Tennesee

AliciaC, interesting subject and well-written article. I would eat insects if my life depended on it, but otherwise I think nature makes the whole idea repulsive to me for a darned good reason. All the same, I enjoyed reading your Hub!


Brite-Ideas profile image

Brite-Ideas 2 years ago from Toronto, Canada

ok, an excellent article! but...would I eat them - If I absolutely had to in order to survive, 'maybe' lol - Interesting solution to a huge problem though - maybe this is the future for the next several generations coming up - what am I saying, it's already here!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thanks for the comment, bethperry. I feel the same way that you do. I would certainly eat insects if I had to, but otherwise I'd rather not! Having said that, though, I am interested in the new products containing powdered insects. One of them might tempt me!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, Brite-Ideas. Yes, I agree with you - the future is already here, or at least will be within most of our lifetimes. At the moment adding insects to our diet isn't essential, but it could be very soon. Thanks for the visit and the comment!


colorfulone profile image

colorfulone 2 years ago from Minnesota

My oldest son was telling me all this about 2 years ago. It really does make sense that more people will be eating insects because of food shortages and increase in population. Congratulations on HOTD. This as an interesting and informative article.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thanks for the visit and the congratulations, colorfulone. Yes, I think that many more people will be eating insects soon!


pocono foothills profile image

pocono foothills 2 years ago from Easton, Pennsylvania

Very informative article AlicaC. Voted up. For people who cringe at the idea of "going buggy," keep in mind that crab, shrimp, and lobster are all sea versions of insects.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thanks for the comment and the vote, pocono foothills. Yes, we do eat insect relatives, so it does seem that we could eventually get used to eating insects too!


paperfacets profile image

paperfacets 2 years ago from La Verne, CA

I like anything that is crunchy so insects may qualify someday. Crunchy orange stir-fry short grubs on a pile of white sticky rice sounds good.


word55 profile image

word55 2 years ago from Chicago

Hi AliciaC, this is very good information. In my town, I don't think we have insect serving restaurants. I'd need to see it a dish before trying any. Congrats too on HOTD!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Your recipe sounds very appetizing, paperfacets - except for the grubs part! Thanks for the entertaining comment.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

Congrats on the HOTD!!! So deserving, as all of your hubs are deserving.

Hope you are enjoying a long three-day weekend.

Blessings


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, word55. I would like to see a dish containing insects before I decide to eat it, too! Thank you very much for the comment and the congratulations.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the congratulations and the kind comment, Faith! I am enjoying the long weekend, thank you, although the weather isn't very good here. I hope your weekend is going well. Blessings to you, Faith.


Markeli profile image

Markeli 2 years ago from Italy

Interesting stuff! John the Baptist comes to my mind who eat locusts and wild honey (Gospel of Matthew 3:4)


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thanks for the comment, Markeli. Insects and honey would be an interesting combination!


boutiqueshops profile image

boutiqueshops 2 years ago from Corpus Christi, Texas

Awesome topic well presented. I've seen articles and stuff on TV about eating insects, but it didn't really interest me until I started watching Bizarre Foods. I agree, this is an untapped food source that could save millions.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thanks, boutiqueshops. Yes, insects are definitely an untapped food source that could be very useful in feeding the world.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

Well you know I ate frog legs nce and it was as good or better than chicken so...is frogs an insect? haha Kidding. Guess I could if I had to...with lots of salt!

Interesting thoughts! Congrats on HOTD!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thanks for the congratulations, Jackie. Thank you for sharing the interesting information about frog legs, too. There seem to be a lot of foods that some people eat regularly and others find very strange!


MJ Martin profile image

MJ Martin 2 years ago from Washington State

We watched an interesting program on television about farming insects. Many of the really poor countries have no other choice as a food source. Great food for thought, that is for sure. I have tried chocolate ants. Not bad. I am open to some of the flour products for sure.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, MJ Martin. Yes, insects can be very useful in helping people make a living and in providing them with food. Your experience with chocolate covered ants is interesting! Thanks for the visit.


VirginiaLynne profile image

VirginiaLynne 2 years ago from United States

I've seen insects as food in markets in China and also saw some for sale at a store in Kentucky which had a lot of international food. I think it is a good idea and should especially be considered in countries where they do not have good protein sources.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, VirginiaLynne. I agree with you! Thanks for sharing the information.


techygran profile image

techygran 2 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

Congratulations of the HOTD AliciaC- This is a very readable scholarly article and even though I'm vegan, I was pulled in to reading the whole piece and am glad I did. I thought to myself that many of the worms in the photos resembled shrimp and certainly can see the association there and wouldn't think that it would be a huge leap to eat them if one was already consuming shrimp. Voted up and shared!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the congratulations, the vote and the share, techygran! The resemblance between insects and shrimp does make it seem like the transition to eating insects wouldn't be hard. In practice though, it seems to be for some people!


Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 2 years ago from USA

Congratulations on your HOTD! This article is so interesting. Eating insects is a unique idea in the US, though I can see that it makes sense as far a protein food production. I think most of us would have a hard time eating a plate of any kind of insects, especially those that are identifiable. Perhaps the cricket flour is the way to go. Great idea for a hub!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much, Stephanie! Yes, I think that cricket flour is the way to go. The flour has the best chance of persuading people to eat insects. Some people may prefer to see exactly what they're eating when they add insects to their diet, though. It will be interesting to see people's response as insect flour products become more common.


Seasons Greetings profile image

Seasons Greetings 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

As crazy as our own over population is, the insects have far more. We really should be eating them, it's only practical.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

That's an interesting thought, Seasons Greatings. Thanks for the comment.


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 2 years ago from USA

I would get sick just looking at a plate of insects. I guess it is just what you are used to eating.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, Barbara Kay. Yes, I think you're right. People who have eaten insects since childhood would probably think that they are a normal part of the human diet, but for many of us the idea of eating insects is very unappealing! Thanks for the visit.


Raimer Gel 2 years ago

My heart melts every time I see cute birds. Great photo!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thanks for the comment, Raimer Gel. The robin is a beautiful bird!


Rolly A Chabot profile image

Rolly A Chabot 2 years ago from Alberta Canada

Great article Alicia... afraid they are not my favourite fare by any means but I have been known to eat some as a survival staple. Grubs as they are called can be found in many decaying tree stumps. They are actually rather tasty, almost a nutty taste, all you have to do is close your eyes... smiles

Hugs from Alberta


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the comment and for sharing your interesting experience in eating grubs, Rolly! Best wishes to you.


Elsie Hagley profile image

Elsie Hagley 2 years ago from New Zealand

Great article. It really is only the thought that turns us off of eating them.

Maoris in New Zealand have been eating grubs for hundreds of years.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, Elsie. Thank you for the visit and the interesting comment!


Besarien profile image

Besarien 19 months ago

Great article! Congratulations on a HotD! I am one of those try anything once people when it comes to food. Back in the seventies a neighbor kid fed me chocolate covered "raisins" that were really ants. I did not know what I was eating until after. I also tried an earthworm sliced down the middle, cleaned and fried like bacon once at a campsite gathering. It was bland but not terrible. With a bit of teriyaki it would have had potential. I have heard that termites taste like pineapple and that locusts taste a bit like shrimp. Some people call them sky prawns. June bugs taste like "dirt flavored jelly beans" according to a former contestant chef on Chopped.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 19 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the congratulations and for sharing all the fascinating information, Besarien!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 16 months ago from North Texas

With more and more jobs being taken over by technology and fewer and fewer millionaires paying taxes, it won't be long before we are a 3rd world country here in the states, and I would go so far as to say for many people who can't find work and who unable to access healthcare this is already a 3rd world country. Expect eventually the powers that be will determine that poor people don't even deserve insects and start feeding them sawdust and bonemeal.

Given that insects have previously been considered a delicacy only the well off could afford, I should think the wealthy eating bugs would free up more food for everyone else, but it doesn't seem to work that way. I think it's ironic that poor people must sift through dumpsters to find food, when the food that is in dumpsters, insects and worse, are the sort of things the wealthy serve to impress. Wouldn't it make more sense for the wealthy -- or more likely their servants -- to sift through the dumpsters looking for delicate morsels?

Perhaps the reason so many wealthy people feel they shouldn't have to pay their fair share in taxes is due to homeless people scooping up those delectable morsels from the dumpsters that the wealthy pay high dollar for and the wealthy are offended that poor people are taking their food away from them . . .

Afraid I'm one of those people who finds insects disgusting for any purpose, but especially the idea of eating them. I wrote about all the impurities in our spices and I imagine all processed foods are equally corrupted. Then there are the restaurant workers who don't wash their hands after using the bathroom or picking their noses. Wonder when 'they' will get the idea to package that stuff and feed it to the poor since it's mixed into all boughten processed food and eaten without though by thousands of people daily?

Well written and thought provoking to be sure. :)


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 16 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you for leaving such a detailed and thought provoking comment, Au fait. You've raised some interesting and very important points. Our social and food production systems definitely have serious problems that need to be resolved.

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