The world population continues to grow and is projected to exceed 9 billion by 2050. Numbers like these make it painfully clear that conventional animal farming will soon not be enough to supply the world’s population with meat.

The search for new sources of protein is crucial and urgent.

Among the possible options, insects appear to be an increasingly sensible alternative. In fact, it’s estimated that within the next 30 years, half of our protein come from insects.

Is eating insects the solution?

While eating “bugs” may be a new or strange idea for many Canadians, it’s worth knowing that 80% of the world’s population has already added insects to their diet in various ways. And entomophagy (the practice of eating edible insects) is rapidly gaining ground! More than 2 billion people (one third of the world’s population) have already embraced the practice; most of them in Asia and South America.

Insects — such as grasshoppers, beetles, caterpillars, ants, spiders and termites (there are some 2,000 different edible species on the planet) — are high in content, low in fat and are a good source of vitamin B, calcium, zinc and iron. What’s more, they exist in large quantities and can be found virtually everywhere.

Insect consumption worldwide

  • Asian countries are the largest consumers of insects worldwide.
  • Ant caviar is even considered a delicacy in Colombia.
  • In Thailand, people nibble on fried insects instead of peanuts with their beer.
  • In Africa, larvae and caterpillars can be found in many tasty recipes.

How will this trend affect Canadians?

The new Canada Food Guide, which is slated to be out by the end of 2018, will no doubt encourage Canadians to eat less meat. As a “food of the future”, insects could certainly substitute meat as well as fish in our diets.

Eating insects would significantly reduce our carbon footprint: Insect farming produces 100 times less greenhouse gases and requires 2,000 times less water than livestock farming.

Eating insects could also reduce our consumption of grains; insect meal seems to be a good replacement for the conventional flours we currently use in recipes.

All in all, insects appear to be both better for our health and kinder to the environment than other forms of protein. This suggests that it’s only a matter of time before insects start appearing on our plates. Ready to give them a try?