Food of the future?
Insects are said to be the food of the future. That in a few decades, only insects will be eaten instead of meat from common farm animals. This vision is, of course, debatable, and there are various arguments that confirm it and those that refute it. Let's look at a few facts that point to a positive evolution of the insect diet.
Environmentally friendly source
Insect farming is very friendly to our planet compared to traditional livestock farming. Insects require many times less water (up to 22,000 times less) than conventional meat farms to produce the same amount of protein. The same is true for feed, insects need 12 times less feed than livestock. Only a fraction of the area required by cattle is needed to raise insects. To produce 1 kg of protein, cattle need about 200 m2, pigs about 55 m2, poultry about 50 m2. Insects need only 20 m2.
The production of greenhouse gases is also linked to livestock farming. The amount that ruminants in particular produce is enormous. Cattle farming accounts for up to 14.5% of greenhouse gases from human activity. Cattle produce up to 7 times as much CO2 as insects.
So including insects in the diet as an alternative to conventional protein sources is proving to be a very environmentally friendly strategy.
Insects vs. livestock
As the price of meat rises, so does the price of meat. Raising warm-blooded livestock is expensive and gaining protein this way can become more expensive. Insects are cold-blooded and so are more efficient at converting food into protein. It may not be as costly to obtain the necessary amount of protein from insects as from cattle.
Another problem today is land degradation due to agriculture. Insects are not restricted to a single habitat type and are therefore not in danger of radical decline. It inhabits forests, fields and water.
Insects have a high reproductive capacity. For example, the female cricket lays an average of 200 eggs at a time. Within a few months, there are dozens of adult crickets. In contrast, a cow's gestation period lasts about 9 months and she usually gives birth to one young, which reaches maturity around the 10th month of life.
The insect body is eaten whole. This does not produce waste in the form of bones, guts, tendons, hooves or horns.
The insect diet is undoubtedly the food of the past, present and future...