For lunch today: locusts, crickets and worms

Bug Mac: A grasshopper meat burger topped with dried grasshoppers and mealworms. © Getty

Could eating insects save the human race? With the global population expanding fast, experts are worried the planet may run out of food. One good answer would be to eat more bugs...

What’s happening

What if packets of cockroaches and ants were for sale alongside the crisps and biscuits in your local supermarket? Or you could have a bug-burger instead of a Big Mac? It is one big step closer to reality this week since the EU decided new regulations to make edible insects much easier to sell.

Find out more

People are already chomping on creepy crawlies in Africa and Asia, but will it catch on elsewhere? Many are hopeful. If we all ate more insects, it would be much better for the environment. Farming animals for meat is bad for the environment — cows alone create more greenhouse gases than all the world’s transport. No such issue with insects.

Not only are they less gassy, insects are also more nutritious. One cricket contains more protein than a single beef burger. There’s also loads of variety. Scientists have discovered around 1,900 different varieties of edible insects, including beetles, butterflies, moths and mealworms.

The rules have changed, but does that mean tastes are going to change — or will the “ick” factor put people off?

Some say…

Get over it. We already eat shrimp and mussels, why not add crickets and mealworms to the mix? Two billion people have already discovered how delicious adding insects to their diets can be; we are missing out. As the world population grows, so will its appetite. Insects provide an efficient, environmentally friendly way to feed a hungry planet.

Others think…

We do not currently farm insects the way we do livestock, so we do not really know what the environmental impact would be if we increased the volume of edible insect production to feed billions more people. Not all insects are edible. If we make bugs a part of our diet, we need stricter regulation to make sure we are always eating the right ones.

You Decide

  1. Would you eat insects if you knew it would help the planet?

Activities

  1. Find out what insects are good for people to eat. How are they cooked?

Some People Say...

“What we eat is a matter of custom and fashion.”

J. Bequaert, entomologist.

What do you think?

Word Watch

EU
The European Union is a group of countries in Europe which follow the same set of laws, rules and regulations.
Greenhouse gases
Gases in the Earth’s atmosphere that stop heat escaping out into space, warming up the planet.
Nutritious
Anything that provides humans or animals with the substances needed for healthy growth.
Protein
A nutrient that the body needs to build healthy tissue, especially muscle.
Livestock
Farm animals.
Entomologist
Someone who studies insects.

Subjects

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