When I was at University, I had to try different foods in one class. I still remember eating chocolate coated ants. They were actually very tasty, sort of chocolate with a bit of an acid bite.
Eating of insects is not done in most western countries, it is, in fact, almost a sort of taboo for most people in these countries. People still look amazed, and with some distaste, when I tell them about the chocolate covered ants.
Insects are commonly eaten in Asian, African and South American countries and form an important part of the nutritional intake for those people. According to a guide (“Edible insects; future prospects for food and food security”) recently published by the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), at least two billion people eat insects daily around the world. Beetles are the most popular but other insects are also part of the diet. They are served in multiple ways, including; whole, ground to a paste or in other foods.
Insects have high levels of protein, fat, fibre and minerals. It simply makes nutritional sense to have them as a food source. They also are a much better food source from an environmental perspective than the animals we currently consume.
Insects use far less water and land to produce them and with similar nutritional benefits. It simply makes sense on all levels to include them in our diets.
So why aren’t we all sitting down to a plate full tonight? It is because the idea of eating insects has to be sold to those of us in the west and this will take time. There are already restaurants in Australia doing insects as part of their menu but this is far from being in the mainstream.
There is a saying “it will happen, but not overnight”. Things like food safety and related issues need to be considered as well, as this inevitable food source becomes commonplace in our homes.
Someday, hopefully in the not too distant future, it will not be unusual to hear ”do you want beetles with that?”
This article has been written by Rachelle Williams – The Green Food Safety Coach