Time to consume critters and save the world
It’s time for Brits to stop being so squeamish and chow down on insects as a source of protein in our own national bush tucker challenge.
With I’m A Celebrity back on the screens – albeit from a castle in Wales – it’s time for us as a nation to think the unthinkable and switch from beefsteak to crunchy crickets, says a national food waste and recycling company.
According to food waste collection company BusinessWaste.co.uk, we might soon be seeing bugs such as ants, crickets, and beetles on the menu and in our supermarkets.
Company spokesperson Mark Hall says, “sustainability experts are telling us it’s the right thing to do, it’s better for the environment and can help to solve the global food crisis.
“Give it a go, you might like it! Plus it will probably just taste like chicken.”
Save the planet – eat bugs
The UK is a nation of meat-eaters with 87% of the population regularly eating meat such as beef, pork, and chicken in their diets.* But what if the meat we ate was a bit smaller and had a few more legs?
It’s no secret that the world is facing the biggest climate crisis in human history, but it turns out that what we are eating could be a big part of the problem. And that’s why we need to eat more climate-friendly bugs.
“Agriculture is leading cause of the destruction of biodiversity around the world, as natural environments are destroyed to make way for endless farms,” says Business Waste spokesman Mark Hall.
“The beef farming industry is particularly bad; cows create a lot of CO2 from production and transporting the meat, plus they need an awful lot of land.”
But land isn’t just being destroyed to keep the animals, mass farming is used to produce animal feed with almost 80% of all soybeans produced being used to feed livestock, which takes up even more natural space.**
So how exactly can eating bugs be the answer?
The first big advantage is that they take a lot less space to produce, meaning that there will be less destruction of environments.
If people make the switch to bugs instead of beef, land can be rewilded which will allow for healthier environments, fewer CO2 emissions, and more biodiversity.
Secondly, insect farming uses a lot less greenhouse gases, with one kilo of beef creating 2,850 times the amount of gases than one kilo of bugs – and bugs also require barely any water.***
Hall: “Basically, farming bugs for food takes up a lot less space and is greener for the environment than regular meat production. With evidence like that, bring on the beetle Bolognese.”
Feeding the world, one bug at a time
Eating insects is already a big part of diets in Asia, Africa, and South and Central America, with around two billion people worldwide eating bugs every single day.****
But for the UK, eating bugs is something people are only used to seeing on the TV, not in the aisles of the local supermarket – but all this could be about to change.
Hall: “Insects could become a leading source of protein in our diets in the next decade, they are a great source of energy and could help to solve the global food shortage”.
In 2050, it’s estimated that the global population will grow to about 9.7 billion people, meaning we will have 2 billion more mouths to feed.****
And in comparison, for each person on the earth there are approximately 1.4 billion insects, and the total number of bugs outweighs all the people on earth 70 times.*****
Eating insects could also be the solution to feeding the UK post-Brexit as part of Operation Yellowhammer, as bugs can be easily harvested instead of scrambling for trade deals for meat.
“There are definitely plenty of bugs to go around, but attitudes need to change, and people need to stop thinking that eating them is only stuff of bush-tucker trials,” says Hall.
Here are some bugs that are widely eaten around the world that you may find on your plates in the future –
Crickets and grasshoppers
Giant house spider
Hall: I’ll be the first to admit that eating spiders and worms doesn’t sound very appetising, but maybe instead of eating them whole we need to find a way to sneak them into food we already eat.
“Why not try using ground up bugs as flour for bread (and help reduce waste from bakeries), or using mealworms in spaghetti or burgers – if you can’t see a whole bug lurking on your plate you’re more likely to give it a go.”
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