• Blaze Horn

Are edible insects the future of sustainable protein?

Updated: Nov 14, 2021

It’s time to consider alternative, sustainable proteins. Could edible insects be the future of food...

The world population is expected to reach 9.8 billion by 2050. Over the next three

decades, there will be 2 billion more people on this planet!

Due to the population increase, the world’s natural resources (land, water, food, and

energy) are already under high pressure. If we are to meet the aims of the United

Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and improve the living conditions

for everyone on this earth, the need for sustainable solutions is at an all-time high.

Food (our favourite topic) is top of the global to-do list. There have been many

suggestions as to how food can be sustainability produced and satisfy the bellies of

nearly 10 billion people.

The new, sustainable solution could be a historic one.

One of the suggestions is to include edible insects in our diets. From a Western

perspective, this may sound like a strange and rather odd idea, but the inclusion of

insects in people’s diets has been around for hundreds of years.

In fact, today, around 2.5 billion people, mainly in Africa, Asia, and Latin America,

regularly consume insects as part of their diet.

A tasty snack found in the rainforest in Ecuador!

Now, for those of you who haven’t heard of this before – the practice of eating

insects is called entomophagy. It basically refers to the consumption of anything

that has a chitinous exoskeleton (i.e. an outer shell), a three-part body, three pairs of

jointed legs, compound eyes (i.e. lots of little eyes) and two antennae.

Globally, there are up to 2100 edible insects that have been found, meaning the

options for unique recipes are endless! Even better, insects are a rich source of

animal protein, essential amino acids, minerals (K, Na, Ca, Cu, Fe, Zn, Mn and P),

vitamins (B-group, A, D, E, K and C) and unsaturated fatty acids. So, every bite has

the potential to meet many of our dietary needs.

Green grubs: insects are a more sustainable protein source.

Now, if all the vitamins aren’t enough to sway you, the sustainability element of

introducing insects into our diets might just twist your arm. After all, that’s why your

here and reading this post, right?

Life cycle Assessments (LCAs) have been made of several different edible insects

such as crickets. It has been shown that the amount of land and water needed is

significantly lower than any other more traditional source of protein (poultry, pork and beef) and, insects have one of the lowest greenhouse gas impacts. Great news!

Despite some of the resistance within Western cultures, it is expected that the global edible insect market will exceed 522 million $US by 2023.

So, who knows? Before long the Floop App could include the environmental and climate impact of food items such as crickets and mealworms, ready for you to include in your own recipes.

We look forward to seeing your take on cricket a l’Orange!

Would you try edible insects? Let us know your thoughts on the future of food

and sustainable protein below.

Our sources:

  1. Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO). 2013. Edible Insects: Future Prospects for Food and Food Security.

  2. Gorbu nova, N.A., and Zakharov, A.N. 2021. Edible Insects as a Source of Alternative Protein. A Review. Theory and Practice of Meat Processing, 6(1), pp. 23– 32.

  3. Hartmann, C., and Siegrist, M. 2017. Insects as food: Perception and acceptance. Findings from current research. Ernahrungs Umschau 64(3): pp. 44–50.

  4. Tae-Kyung Kim, Hae In Yong, Young-Boong Kim, Hyun-Wook Kim, and Yun-Sang Choi. 2019. Edible Insects as a Protein Source: A Review of Public Perception, Processing Technology, and Research Trends. Food Science of Animal Resources, 39(4), pp. 521 -540.