Why Don’t We Eat Bugs in North America?
Thousands of years ago large mammalian animals became domesticated to haul, provide meat, leather and milk products and agriculture increased the ability for a sedentary life leaving behind the hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Today this hunter-gatherer era is associated with primitive forms of food acquisition such as insect eating and therefore distasteful.
But, if we look to other parts of the world, there are records of bug eating going as far back as the 8 century BC in the Middle East, Greece, Ethiopia, and China.
Furthermore in Western society where livestock still provides the majority of protein for society, insects are often considered a nuisance. They invade homes, ruin wood, cause bites, end up in food and might carry diseases.
What will it take to change these habits and create new ones?
There are many opportunities for us to use insects as a food source. It has only been recently that is getting more interest with the World Health Organization (WHO) reporting that it could be a significant source of nutrition for humans as we grow exponentially.
Globally, the most commonly consumed insects are:
beetles (Coleoptera) 31%,
caterpillars (Lepidoptera) 18 %
bees, wasps and ants (Hymenoptera) 14 %
grasshoppers, locusts and crickets (Orthoptera) 13 %
cicadas, leafhoppers, scale insects and true bugs (Hemiptera) 10 %
termites (Isoptera) 3 %
dragonflies (Odonata) 3 %
flies (Diptera) 2 %
and other orders 5 %
Here are some really interesting facts that might convince you that eating bugs is the way to go:
*Cricket protein is high in DHA, which is an omega-3 fatty acid.
*Eating the whole animal gives you your B12, calcium and zinc.
*It is a complete protein, containing all essential amino acids and is high in fibre.
*It is estimated that crickets are 20 times more efficient to raise for protein than cattle.
*Farming crickets produces very little methane and produce quickly.
Visit the Nature Exchange at Science North to try some samples of edible bugs from Entomo Farms.