Article here: http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/267/1459/2247.short
With the increase of life quality in an urbanized world (pandemia control, improved hygiene…), human lifespan keeps on extending, and world population is greater than ever. Hence, the need of food supply to feed all those people, and especially the high demand on protein-rich items (meat to be simple), reaches such proportions, that more and more scientists are wondering whether the Earth is able to sustain everyone’s nutritious needs. And as a matter of fact, as you all know, a large number of people starve in the world while other parts are consuming meat in excess. However, a solution has arise, based on two basic observations:
1) Insects are largely dominating the global biodiversity in number
2) They are proven to be provide high-quality nutrients such as proteins
Consequently, the natural conclusion to these observation is “we should start eating insects instead of pork, beaf or chicken, as it seems to be almost an never-ending source of nutrients, can be found everywhere and could sustain the huge population of humans on Earth”.
This is the scientific rational point of view, but from a cultural point of view, I feel like it would be hard to get people to change their feeding behaviors and become entomophages. The idea of eating insects is quite disgusting from my point of view (and I now what I’m talking about, I tried it!), and I was wondering if this was only because of my european set of mind, or if you guys feel also the same. Do you think the world is ready to face the issue of the lack of food and to start eating Arthropods?
One thought on “Insects: the future high-quality dish?”
Interesting article you have shared there. Personally, I will never consider eating insects. Indeed, it is all fixed within the culture and lifestyle in the environment we live in where other sources of food are more available, delicious and pleasant-looking. I think the role of media played an important role in shaping how we perceive about consuming insects. Often these arthropods are associated with ‘pests, nasty, etc.’ like what we usually see in Fear Factor. These naturally reinforces the thoughts that eating insects is ‘disgusting’.
In addition to what you have shared, I also came across a video which highlights the ecological benefits in addition to its nutritional value.
In relation to urban ecology, the agriculture of insects may be a solution to resolve some issues with regards to urbanisation. First, it requires 13 times less amount of land to rear insects to produce the same amount of protein as compared to that of cattle farming. This may potentially reduce the amount of agricultural land required and therefore possibly reduce the challenges faced with land use conflict. Second, rearing of insects requires much less freshwater as compared to that cattle farming. Therefore, there is less need to modify our hydrological regimes (i.e. irrigation) in urban environments to sustain insect farming. Given that limited land area and freshwater scarcity are major concerns in urban environment like Singapore, insect farming MAY be a viable for sustainable agriculture (provided if Singaporean do not mind having insects added into our local delicacies like laksa).
Oh and a side note, some of my friends said that fried insects taste just like shrimps. Sounds like a good replacement for the prawn sauce in our favourite rojak or the shrimps in our traditional laksa.