by: Jonathan Benson
Arnold van Huis and his research team from Wageningen University in the Netherlands believe that insects and other bugs are more sustainable food source for humans than traditional cows and pigs are, and they want you to agree with them. At a recent seminar, Huis and his colleagues unveiled a variety of bug-based foods to 200-or-so “guinea pig” taste-testers. The items included worm pralines, grasshopper spring rolls, and meal worm pastries.
“There will come a day when a Big Mac costs 120 euros ($164) and a Bug Mac 12 euros ($16), when more people will eatinsectsthan other meat,” announced Huis to the crows of listeners. “The best way to start is to try it once.”
Conventional meatprices, of course, are unlikely to reach such lofty prices, especially as increasing numbers of smallfarmersbegin to raise and graze their own cattle tomeatlocal demand for “Slow Food.” Even so, Huis and his colleagues are convinced, and believe that eating bugs it humanity’s only way to escape the comingfoodcrisis.
According to reports, seminar attenders were mostly receptive to the insect fare, gobbling down various species of worms, grasshoppers, and other insects. The bugs offered were raised by farmers in the Netherlands specifically for food, most of which currently goes to create animal feed. But a small portion of it is also transformed into human food, which in some countries is actually considered a delicacy.
Researchers say bugs are high in protein and require less feed to produce good yields. In Mexico, the local population consumes about 500 different types of insects. And in Africa, locals eat about 250 varieties. Even Westerners already unknowingly eat roughly 500 grams of mixed bug residue every year, due to its unseen presence in many processed food products.
Since most people will likely always be avert to eating whole bugs, researchers are evaluating ways to process and texturize bug slurry totastelike regular meat so that consumers will not be able to recognize a difference.
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