No, this is not an episode of Fear Factor, nor is this a dare that you lost to your best friend in the fifth grade. This is the new wave of sustainable eating. Entomophagy is the human consumption of insects as food. Worldwide, about 2 billion people consume insects regularly. In fact, insects are a large part of the diet in many parts of the world. But as far as the United States go, purposeful insect consumption is rare.
Three Reasons to Add Crickets to your Diet
1. First, insects are an eco-friendly source of protein. In fact, crickets produce only 1% of the greenhouse gases cattle produce. They also require a fraction of the water needed to raise cattle, needing just one gallon of water to every 2000 gallons necessary for the same amount of protein from cows. This is especially important in a world where it is projected that by 2025 two-thirds of the population will be under water stress.
2. Cricket farming requires less land than cattle farming. In a growing world, space and food are in increased demand. Thirty percent of viable land is dedicated to the production of animal feed and animal farming. Crickets have a higher feed conversion rate, in other words they are more efficient in processing their food and they require less food for the same amount of protein as cattle. This means that less land can be dedicated to the production of protein sources.
3. Crickets have many nutritional benefits. They are higher in protein than beef – 30 grams of cricket provides 20 grams of protein compared to the mere 8 grams beef provides. Crickets also contain many important nutrients like amino acids and vitamin B12, which contribute to maintenance/repair of muscle tissue and keep blood and nerve cells healthy.
The Cricket Diet
The consumption of crickets may seem daunting or, for lack of a better term, “gross.” But in an age where more and more farmers are taking up cricket production, companies have found interesting ways to make crickets more palatable. Take the company EXO; they use cricket flour in protein bars with flavors ranging from apple cinnamon to banana bread. Each bar packs in 10 grams of protein. If protein bars aren’t your thing, there’s cricket pasta by Bugsolutely to try. And if you’re into baking, there are many recipes online that use cricket flour, including smoothies, breads, and biscuits.
If you’re looking for a way to eat more sustainably, crickets may be the answer. So hop on the cricket train.