Edible insects as sources of protein of the future
If the exhaustion of the world oil reserve in a few decades is in everyone’s mind, the source of protein to feed the world’s population in a few years is also a real problem. Indeed, according to demographers, we will exceed 9 billion in 2030.
Satisfy the demand for protein source
The limit of meat production
A priori, the food industry will have no difficulty in meeting the demand. Indeed, intensive farming techniques are constantly improving to produce meat in quantity in a short time. However, the sustainability of this option remains unresolved when considering the demand for cereals to feed the animals. In practice, a kilogram of beef requires, for example, ten kilograms of grain. At least one tonne of grain is needed to obtain 100 kg of beef.
The problem of cereal production
So why are not grains used for livestock going directly to human food? This solution seems to be simpler. However, given the amount of pesticides that this mass of production requires, the environmental consequence would be enormous. As a result, governments have to spend a colossal budget to address the health risk that this represents. And even considering that this solution is viable, nutritionists believe that plant-based proteins can not replace proteins of animal origin.
The edible insects option
Entomophagy in the world
Faced with these dilemmas, the edible insect option, 10 times more profitable and twice as nourishing according to specialists, becomes unavoidable. If many people consider repugnant the consumption of insects, this practice is not new. In fact, nearly 3 billion people around the world consume regularly. In some countries, such as Thailand, they are the main source of protein. To satisfy the demand, the edible insect professionals are no longer satisfied with the collection. They have set up a modern breeding system, efficient and above all, meeting sanitary standards.
A survival food
The consumption of edible insects is not a real novelty for Europeans and for humanity in general. Indeed, the Paleolithic Man only hunts and gather for food. Under these conditions, paleoanthropologists and biologists believe that edible insects, more accessible and abundant, were their main source of energy. In this perspective, they are considered essentially as a survival food. In fact, almost all insect-eating countries are in developing countries.
After advocacy by FAO, most political and economic actors are convinced of the importance of entomophagy to cope with the exponential growth in the world’s food demand. Yet, we still expect a global regulation of edible insect production. If it is still difficult to join the act to the word, institutions like the European Union devote a budget of 3 million euros to promote edible insects. While it’s a drop in the world food stakes, it’s a good start to make things happen.
Problem and perspective
The cultural obstacle
Indeed, the main obstacle to the adoption of edible insects as a source of protein is of a cultural nature. Indeed, converting to entomophagy members of a consumer society used to choosing products based on their aesthetics is not won in advance. It is even more difficult to convince a population accustomed to the tastes of meat and sugar to eat edible worms or edible ants.
However, companies aware of all the potential of edible insects invest in it to produce products to appeal to consumers. To achieve this, they offer products that are closer to our taste culture. Thus, edible cricket bars or edible insect flours take over the market. According to statistics, the introduction of these products into the diet is more important for athletes than for the rest of the population. However, any innovation requires the adoption of an influential minority.