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 email@example.com.
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