Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Entomophagy may help provide protein for growing global population

Entomophagy the consumption of "bugs," may become much more prevalent in the future especially to supply protein and ensure that a food supply is available for the world's growing population.



In a video here a University of British Columbia(UBC) researcher suggests that bugs could be a common source of protein in the future. Yasmin Akhtar, is a Research Associate in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems at the UBC. She discusses what the future of entomophagy might be with CBC reporter Deborah Goble. Bugs typically contain many vitamins and minerals as well as protein.
 Eating of insects is hardly new. The practice dates back to prehistoric times. Not only adult insects have been eaten but also the eggs, larvae, and pupae of insects. Many animals other than humans eat insects and even some plants live on them. While many in the west may be revolted at the very idea of eating insects, there are over 1,000 species of insects known to be eaten in 80 percent of the countries in the world. While in the developed world the taste for insects is limited, they are still popular as a food in many developing countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America. Some "bugs" that are eaten, such as spiders and centipedes, are not really insects but usually counted as examples of entomorphagy. Crickets, grasshoppers, ants, meal-worms, and caterpillars are popular edible insects but scorpions and tarantulas are also eaten.
 While the market for food produced from insects is limited in countries such as the U.S., nevertheless there is a US company All Things Bugs that manufactures and sells cricket powder which is used in protein bars, and baked goods. Studies show that the most likely group to adopt insects as a meat substitute are young males who have no strong attachment to meat and are open to novel foods particularly if their consumption would be positive for the environment.
 There are two places in Vancouver, Canada, that offer cricket-based food items. One restaurant has parathas, a type of flat bread, made from roasted crickets that are ground to make a flour. The other restaurant offers pizza that has whole roasted crickets sprinkled on naan dough a type of flat bread dough. The UN released a publication titled "Edible insects-Future prospects for food and feed security" in 2013 at the International Conference on Forests for Food Security and Nutrition. The paper discusses the opportunities for farming insects for food and feed, as well as research on the nutritional value of food from insects, as well as ways of processing and preserving foods made from insects. Perhaps by 2050 entomophagy will be trending even in the United States and Canada.

No comments: