Experts have discussed the merits of eating insects for years, but even though it still seems strange and freaky in the U.S., it’s becoming increasingly popular around the world. Today, the Food and Agriculture Organization released a 200-page report at a news conference at the U.N.’s headquarters in Rome. It made a strong case for why humans should eat bugs: They can help fight hunger and pollution while providing high-quality protein and nutrition. We’ve summarized the most persuasive arguments about why you should consider eating lemony ants and popcorn-flavored crickets.
1. 2 billion people already eat insects around the world. And Angelina Jolie is one of them.
2. After two decades of living underground, cicadas are about to attack. They’re actually a rare delicacy that taste like shrimp when boiled, and have a nutty flavor and a buttery texture.
3. There’s already an insect-themed tasting menu. French chef David Faure serves a special bug-centric meal for 59 euros ($76.50) at his Michelin-starred restaurant, Aphrodite, in Nice. He serves crickets, which taste like popcorn, and mealworms, which carry a subtle, nutty flavor.
4. Bugs are a great source of protein and nutrients: Biologists say that the high-quality protein that bugs like beetles, ants, crickets, and grasshoppers provide rivals lean red meat and fish. Insects are also good sources of nutrients like copper, iron, magnesium, zinc, and fiber.
5. Eating insects benefits the environment. It’s easy and efficient to convert bugs into edible meat, and they produce few greenhouse gases and feed on human and food waste.
6. Bugs are omnipresent and reproduce quickly — just take a look at your legs come July. Family-run insect farming happens mostly in forests, but with mechanization, it can become more mainstream.
7. Noma chef René Redzepi loves preparing lemony black wood ants and fermented crickets.
8. If you eat bugs now, you’ll be bold enough to try a spider in years to come. The Food and Agriculture Organization says that its Edible Insect Program is studying the benefits of eating arachnids. Scorpion, anyone?
UN SAYS: WHY NOT EAT MORE INSECTS? [AP] Cicadas: “The Shrimp of the Land” [NBC Philadelphia] French Chef Puts Crickets on Menu in Push to Use Insects as Food [Bloomberg] Earlier: Are Bugs Really Going to Be the Next Big Thing?
René Redzepi Brings Bugs to New York, Imagines a Bleak Food Future