Good grub: why we might be eating insects soon

UN Insects 2018

UNEP GRID Arendal/Peter Prokosch The rainbow milkweed locust, in Madagascar.

This article is brought to you thanks to the strategic cooperation of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Sean Fleming, Senior Writer, Formative Content

Finding a bug in your food can be a moment of horror that kills the mood and your appetite in one fell swoop. But that might be about to change, according to Meticulous Research, who’ve crunched the numbers on why we’ll soon be voluntarily crunching insects.

The market research company predicts the global market for edible insects could grow to $1.18 billion by 2023. That’s almost triple its current level.

So, what’s behind this anticipated increase in appetite for creepy-crawlies? There are a number of factors in play and the answer is wrapped up in an understanding of how insects compare with the production and farming of other food types.

Per kilo of live weight, bugs emit less harmful gas than more mainstream farm animals. A cow, for example, produces 2.8 kg of greenhouse gas per kilo of live body weight. Insects, on the other hand, produce just 2 grams.

They also consume fewer resources than traditional livestock. For each kilo it weighs, a cow needs 10 kg of feed. Bugs on the other hand need just 1.7 kg.

Water, which is becoming an increasingly scarce resource in some parts of the world – and which is used liberally in intensive farming – offers another interesting comparison. To produce a single gram of insect protein, you’d need 23 litres of water. That might sound like a lot. But to get that same gram of protein from cattle, you’d need 112 litres of water.

Image: Bloomberg

From the farmer’s point of view, raising insects is going to be radically different from raising sheep, pigs, or cattle. No more coping with mud, muck and filth. An end to shifting heavy sacks of feed. And forget about having to go outdoors in all weather to manhandle livestock. The requirement for investment in equipment will be different too. This will be farming on a much smaller scale, reducing the need for large and expensive machinery.

It may not be too long before we can all buy a bag of edible insects at our local grocery store. Despite being eaten by 2 billion people globally, EU laws have prevented the sale of insects for human consumption.

However, the EU’s new Novel Food Regulation, which came into force in January, might mean insects will become a more common sight on European plates.

In 2017, Switzerland changed its food safety laws and became the first European country to allow the sale of insect-based food for humans. And the same year, the Coop unveiled a range of mealworm burgers and balls in some of its Swiss supermarkets.

In March, IKEA’s external innovation lab SPACE10 revealed it is “reimagining” popular dishes at the retailer’s in-store restaurants. In a blog post, the researchers explain that they are working on bug burgers and mealworm meatballs, but add that the new ingredients are being tested so customers won’t find them on IKEA menus.

As scarcity of resources and sustainability become increasingly important issues for food production and distribution, how long before you’re asking for insects in your food, rather than complaining if you find one?

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Barriers to healthcare: are they real?

Greferendum: the biggest political gaffe in western modern history to tear Europe apart? #Grexit #Graccident

Germany is the world’s most innovative economy

New seat projections for the next European Parliament

Latin America is a mass-transit powerhouse. But it needs fine-tuning

UN health experts warn ‘dramatic resurgence’ of measles continues to threaten the European region

EU approves disbursement of €500 million in Macro-Financial Assistance to Ukraine

How cultural understanding can help in the cultural shock

Reflections on the the biggest refugee crisis since World War II

Libya stands at a ‘critical juncture’, UN mission head tells Security Council

China by numbers: 10 facts to help you understand the superpower today

Northern Ireland: Parliament wants to secure post-Brexit regional funding

A new generation of women leaders is making waves in the Arab world

Ongoing insecurity in Darfur, despite ‘remarkable developments’ in Sudan: UN peacekeeping chief

EU Directive makes haircut on uncovered deposits a standard in bank bail-ins

Let us keep ‘their spirit of service alive’: Guterres leads tributes to UN workers who died in Ethiopia crash

UN chief welcomes possibility of resumed talks between US and North Korea

New VAT rules in the EU: how a digital sea could have become an ocean

Work Together to Build a New Type of International Relations and a Community with a Shared Future for Humanity

Killing of aid worker in Syria part of ‘disturbing trend’

MWC 2016 LIVE: 5G to embrace unlicensed bands and Wi-Fi

‘Bicycle Kingdom’ makes a comeback, as China seeks solutions to tackle air pollution crisis

G20 starts to tackle inequality

Minority governments ‘à la mode’ in Europe but can they last long?

UN food agency appeals for access to key storage facility amid fight for Hudaydah

Eating less beef and more beans would cut deaths by 5-7%

Afghanistan extends ceasefire with Taliban; UN urges both sides to work towards lasting peace

Further reforms needed for a stronger and more inclusive Argentine economy

UN chief praises impact of Palestine refugee agency as ‘our common success’, at key pledging conference

The ‘abuse of food relief in Yemen’ must end now

Onagawa’s spirit of togetherness: lessons from the 2011 tsunami

China dazzles the world with her Silk Road plan to connect, Asia, Europe and Africa

Drone regulation is necessary to democratize the sky for humanity

European Commission and four online marketplaces sign a Product Safety Pledge to remove dangerous products

Who will secure Lithuania?

Parliament pushes for cleaner cars on EU roads by 2030

Is Data Privacy really safe seen through Commissioner’s PRISM?

3 ways to rebuild trust in how we regulate technology

Refugee crisis update: EU fails to relocate immigrants from Greece and Italy

GSMA Mobile 360 – MENA Dubai on 26-27 November 2019, in association with The European Sting

Sri Lankan authorities must work ‘vigorously’ to ease simmering ethno-religious tensions, urges UN rights expert

Cybersecurity: agreement reached on better protection for citizens and companies

Which EU countries have to correct their economic policies?

Despite falling attacks, ISIL terrorists remain ‘global threat’: UN report

4 radical shifts required to achieve universal health coverage worldwide

Senior UN adviser sees ‘rare’ victory for humanitarian diplomacy as aid convoy reaches desert camp in Syria

‘Much more’ can be done to raise awareness about the plight of persons with albinism: UN chief

EU Commission closer to imposing anti-dumping duties on Chinese solar panel imports?

This project in India helps people and tigers co-exist peacefully

Microplastics have been found in Rocky Mountain rainwater

Constitutional Committee breakthrough offers ‘sign of hope’ for long-suffering Syrians

The decline of our oceans is accelerating, but it’s not too late to stop it

US migrant children policy reversal, still ‘fails’ thousands of detained youngsters: UN rights experts

South Sudan: UN condemns ‘brutal’ sexual assaults on roads to Bentiu

Menu for change: why we have to go towards a Common Food Policy

EU-US trade war? EU calls for logic while Trump’s administration is a loose cannon in a dangerous lose-lose situation for global prosperity

Eurozone: New data show recession and debt closer to explosion

A Sting Exclusive: “Paris and beyond: EU action and what COP21 should deliver”, Green MEP Keith Taylor discusses from Brussels 

‘Health is a right, not a privilege’ says WHO chief on World Health Day

‘A trusted voice’ for social justice: Guterres celebrates 100 years of the International Labour Organization

More Stings?

Comments

  1. Hi, really interesting blog post! I was wondering if you had any ideas what were the main reasons for EU law restrictions on insect farming despite public perception?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s