How feasible is it that we make consuming insects the norm?
We have already come to a conclusion that insects are more sustainable than eating meat such as beef, chicken, or pork. Insects take up less land than our current industrial animal agricultural system does. We need to sustain our increasing population and many arguments claim we will not be able to sustain our population with the way we currently produce food. Can insects be a solution to this problem?
Social stigma exists around insects in general, and in order for insects to become a common food source for animal protein, we need to decrease concerns over consuming edible insects. Stigmas surrounding insects include insects being harmful, dirty, and scary; however, this is not true for edible insects. Because many major edible insects (larvae, grasshoppers) eat wood or fresh plant leaves, they are more clean/hygienic than crabs or lobsters, which eat carrion.
Also, insects are not always eaten alive, or in the way they appear when they are alive; many insects consumed today are ground into flour. In the post on the site under “Meat Alternatives” titled, “Insects As an Alternative”, there are many ways insects can be consumed without the disgust factor of eating what looks like an insect. Insects can be used in granola bars or tortillas. Examples of the forms insects can take to be eaten are shown in the table below.
The chart above displays ways that insects are currently treated to be eaten as a source of protein. We are already on track to increase the amount of insects we consume in place of other ways we get animal protein today (beef, poultry, pork). I think that the way we market insects can have a strong impact on whether insects will be a large part of our diets in the future.