What’s your favorite meat with six legs?

In the United States, the phrase, “Let’s have some grub!” means, “Let’s eat something.” However, almost no one thinks of real grubs (fat insect larvae) when they say or hear it.

A growing number of experts and investors think that could change very soon. They believe insects will be the food of the future, and in this Learning Nugget, we tell you why.


Who eats bugs?

About two billion people across the world already include insects in their normal diets. To cite just a few examples, termites are commonly eaten in some African regions, ants figure into the cuisine of native South American cultures, and rural Japanese are known to catch giant hornets and ferment them into a liquor.

In traditional Western cuisine, however, bugs are noticeably absent. There are reasons for this as an article from the New York Times explained: “Europe is home to just two percent of the world’s edible insects, and its specimens don’t grow as large (and thus aren’t quite worth hunting) as those in the equatorial tropics.”

Essentially, Europe isn’t home to very many bugs people can eat, so a culture of eating them never really grew. And today the majority of people in countries with cultures dominated by people of European descent still tend to avoid putting insects on their plates.


Why eat bugs?

Little by little, a growing number of people in Western countries are starting to seek out and support the consumption of insects. Two of the biggest reasons for this are concerns about personal health and the environment.

On the health side, many insects are full of protein and even have fiber and healthy oils while being low in fat. They’re a guilt-free source of high quality nourishment for anyone concerned about their figure or cholesterol.

As for how eating bugs can help the environment, the benefits are numerous. They can be raised in much smaller areas than animals like cows and chickens and require far fewer resources to be raised. People replacing traditional meats with insects could make it possible to convert former, clear-cut farmland into biodiverse areas that could help local ecosystems and capture more CO2.

With more and more people caring about their health and healing the environment, tons of startups based on getting Europeans to eat more insects have started in recent years, and many investors are lining up to back to them.


How to eat bugs

Currently, most Westerners who eat bugs don’t really see them in the things they consume. Insect are often ground into powder and used as just one ingredient in various foodstuffs.

For example, in 2019 Germans could buy things like granola enriched with buffalo worm powder and insect-enriched pasta at 650 different Kaufland locations. Currently, various Tegut locations have similar offerings, too.

There are likely more options at grocery stores throughout Germany and Europe, so if you’ve become interested in trying what some believe will be what everyone’s eating soon, see what you can find.

If you do make a meal with a buggy ingredient, we’d love to hear about it! Write us at info@tip.top-english.de.



real grubs – echte Larven, Maden, Raupen

larvae (pl)– Larven (larva (singl.) – Larve)

normal diets – normale Speisepläne, Ernährung

to cite – zitieren

termites – Termiten

ants – Ameisen

hornets – Hornissen

ferment them into a liquor – sie in Schnaps umwandeln, fermentieren

bugs – Käfer, Ungeziefer

noticeably absent – auffallend abwesend

edible – essbar

be worth hunting (worth + ing-form) – wert sein zu jagen/ einzusammeln

equatorial tropics – Tropen am Äquator

essentially – im Grunde genommen

European descent – europäischer Herkunft

avoid putting sth on (avoid + ing-form) – vermeiden etwas zu legen auf

little by little – nach und nach

to seek out – ausfindig machen

environment – Umwelt

a guilt-free source – eine schuldfreie Quelle

nourishment – Ernährung, Nahrung

colesterol – Cholesterin

to be raised – züchten, aufwachsen

clear-cut farmland – gerodetes

to capture – aufnehmen, einfangen

to back to – unterstützen

ground into powder – zu Puder gemahlen

granola enriched with –  Müsli angereichert mit

grocery store – Lebensmittelgeschäft

buggy ingredients – Zutaten mit Insekten


Excite Your Senses

On our YouTube channel, you can follow along as a native speaker reads this month’s Learning Nugget accompanied by music and pictures.

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