The Red Bulletin presents Game Changers. The people, things and ideas that will change our lives in 2016.
Some people simply see them as bugs, but others believe that in the future they’ll be our most important source of protein. Like chickens, sheep and cows, insects produce high-value protein from plant-based nutrients – but they do it in a much more cost-efficient way.
Producing 1kg of meat currently requires up to 13kg of animal feed; with insects, you can produce the same amount of protein with as little as 1.7kg.
Eating creepy-crawlies may not appeal to all palates right now, but it’s all just a question of habit. Beetle larvae were a delicacy in Ancient Rome, and in many parts of the world, grasshoppers and mealworms are seen as a nutritious snack.
The UN predicts that in 20 years’ time, a 10th of the world’s protein could be sourced from insects, most likely dried. Mealworm flour is very versatile, and New York start-up Exo is already making protein snacks from ground crickets.
In the meantime, who’s for Mexican grasshopper tacos or Thai-style fried water scavenger beetles? Famous chefs such as René Redzepi and David Faure have had insects on the menu for some time.
Also, biotech artist Katharina Unger has developed an insect farm which allows you to breed delicious black soldier fly larvae at home.
And let’s not forget those crispy-fried honeypot ants… Delicious.