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Six Reasons We Should Eat Locusts Instead of Beef

Updated on July 12, 2015

Pan-fried "Odede"

Origin of Locust Consumption

Various rural African and Asian communities have adopted locusts as a delicacy over generations, despite the fact that these same insects are seen as pests and primary sources of torment in many agricultural industries, in the West. As a Kenyan native, locusts have been part of my traditional delicacy for generations. The local luhya ethnic community is popularly known to consume locusts as a basic part of their nutrition, especially for growing children, manual labor individuals, the old, and the daily family nutritional source. Among the Kenya's luhya community are other West, Eastern and Central African regions that embraced locusts into their daily nutrition, as a substitute for beef. There are various names that this delicacy holds depending on various ethnicities. According to the luhya community of Kenya, the delicacy is recognized as odede. Within the recent years, many global locations have adopted locusts as a part of their delicacy. These include South America and some parts of Europe and America.

Locusts Served on a Plate

Reasons for Locust Consumption

The following are the basics reasons as to why locusts are considered as such appetizing substitutes to livestock dietary consumptions:

1. Global Food Crisis Solution

With the awakening global food crisis, food supply needs to be doubled in production so as to feed the projected 9 billion human populations. Currently, over 2 billion people feed on insects globally, primarily in Asia, Latin America, and Africa, where the activity has a ten-year precedent. Overcoming disgust for these edible insects might be the simplest initiative to meet worldwide food needs.

2. Locusts are everywhere

Among other edible insects, locusts are located in numerous forests, farmlands, and residential areas. While climate change and habitat destruction create population uncertainties, locusts and other insects continue to thrive, making the total 1,900 list of edible insect species.

3. Insects Release Minimal Greenhouse gasses than Livestock

The rearing of traditional livestock contributes to 18% of the global greenhouse gas emissions that trumps the global transportation industry emissions. Both of the industries emit more greenhouse gasses than locust producers. Also, locusts are seen to produce lesser amounts of methane and ammonia than cattle and pigs. Also, rearing of locust and various insects for consumption requires less water and land than livestock rearing. Through locust and insect rearing, farms can obtain and make beneficial use of the organic wastes that they produce.

4. Economic Benefits

As the global prices of foods have risen over the years, the cost of animal feeds have weighed down many farmers and, as a result, has driven up the prices of meat. Locusts are cold-blooded organisms, this means that they require less energy to survive and stay warm. Therefore, locusts are more efficient in converting their feed to protein, at approximately twelve times less feed than cattle that is needed. Also, there are relatively lower costs of producing and gathering these insects.

5. Less Likely to Make Us Sick

Locusts are taxonomically far from human beings, this making them less capable of transmitting diseases. Such delicacies might be useful to curb various transmitted diseases such as H5N1, SARS, and mad cow disease. Also, with the mass production of livestock are various unknown risks of diseases that may develop with time. With the consumption of beef, there have been many risks that have related by the product, with even more potential health risks.

6. High Essential Nutrient Content

In 2010, the Global Food and Agricultural Organization reported that mature grasshoppers and locusts contain comparable protein levels to raw beef though protein levels, fiber and fat vary by preparation and species. In many insect consuming societies, mini livestock such as locusts create sizable portions of the required daily dosages of calcium, protein, iron, and zinc.

Protein Content Comparison

Animal group
Protein content (g/100g fresh weight) (raw)

The Step to Adopting Locusts as a Delicacy

It might be beneficial to adopt locusts into the daily nutritional regimen since human averagely unintentionally consume approximately a pound of insect every year, combined with their foods. Locusts are now being seen in some Western high-end dinner menus, which have seen the consumption of locusts, among other insects, as a mainstream fad.It would take much effort by the worldwide best chefs to make this cultural adaptable to an ordinary delicacy. As the precedent delicacies that the West and other global regions have learned to adopt and enjoy, such as "sushi", locusts will take enough time. However, the trick to adopting this delicacy is to open up our palates to discovering various foods.

The Migratory Locust


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    • Anjili profile image

      Anjili 3 months ago from planet earth, a humanoid

      I agree with you Rogan. When boiled then sauted, locusts taste wonderful. I enjoyed them in my childhood but they somehow disappeared from my immediate environment. The taste still lingers in my mouth to date

    • rogananjili profile image

      Rogan 2 years ago from Kenya

      Since '95? That's quite long. I could barely chew meat then, way to go. I personally like the crunchy taste. If you'd want to get rid of the crunchiness, I'd suggest steaming then having them sautéed.

    • rogananjili profile image

      Rogan 2 years ago from Kenya

      Since '95? That's quite long. I could barely chew meat then, way to go. I personally like the crunchy taste. If you'd want to get rid of the crunchiness, I'd suggest steaming then having them sautéed.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Intellectually I am totally with you. (I do not eat beef myself. I haven't since 1995.). How do you get over the crunch factor? Boiled? Fried? Sautéed? Something else?