I thought that eating snails and sushi, and even insects from the sea such as shrimps were a brave thing enough thing to do, but crawling and flying insects… I must admit that the thought of crunching away on insects gives me the heart palpitations, and provokes a bit of nausea too!
Recent trends give way to the idea that insects are becoming a popular cuisine, not as an “exotic delicacy”, but as an everyday food choice. There are many reasons for the increase in the growing acceptance of insects as an edible dish, which does make me somewhat curious to sample a few bugs, hesitantly so, but, I must try and stomach the thought first…
Why eating insects are good for you:
Did you know that two billion people already consume insects as part of their diet? Furthermore, more than 1000 insect species are consumed in 80% if countries – mostly in the tropics. The main reason why there is a drive toward insect consumption is the fact that the mass consumption of meat has a negative impact on the environment, and on top of that, it is expensive and unhealthy.
It is estimated that the livestock industry is responsible for around 18% of greenhouse emissions through transport, production and digestive gas. Further to this, UN’s Food and Agriculture have also identified insects as a potentially valuable source of food for the world’s rapidly growing population.
Insects have a smaller environmental footprint and are much cheaper than meat. They also have a high feed conversion – which means that you get for instance 9 times as much grasshopper meat than as beef for the same amount of food!
Not only is it better to stick to eating insects than meat, but did you know they are also rich in protein as well? They are also low fat, and a great source of vitamins and minerals as well! Why not try termites – they are rich in iron; or silkworm caterpillars, as they provide all of the daily requirements for copper, zinc, thiamin and riboflavin. Crickets on the other hand, are rich in calcium.
Rentokil celebrated their 85th anniversary with their ‘Pop-up Pestaurant’ at restaurant One New Change in London, and offering advice on household pests. “The Pestaurant is all about celebrating the hard work that goes into keeping the UK’s pests under control,” David Cross, head of Rentokil’s technical training academy says.
All weird and wonderful creepy crawlies were on the menu – including wasabi weaver ants, pigeon sweet chilli burgers, scorpion lollipops, crunchy chicken snacks, BBQ grasshoppers and other tasty treats. The food was free of charge for anyone brave enough to give it a go.
Many visitors arrived to sample these insect treats – many of whom were pleasantly surprised. An enthusiastic youngster, Stan Knight, wholeheartedly scoffed down a handful of mealworms which made him vomit (oh no!), although, he said that he enjoyed the experience none the less. He said that he probably had too many of these worms on one go, and really liked them. “They were really nice, they felt like normal food,” he said.
On the other hand, at first Tim Guest from London felt like these gloopy worms were “wrong on a fundamental level”. After tasting the ‘slightly slimy’ worms, his opinion was that they were “really nice”, and that he doesn’t see why anyone wouldn’t want to eat them. He even compared the mealworms to compared potato chips, as they felt like a pocket of air with spices on top.
After hearing what the public had to say, and ingesting the benefits of eating insects, I must say that I do feel a bit more daring, and would like to give insects a go!