Bugs for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Mealworm fried rice and insect nuggets could be a mouth-watering alternative to meat—or so say the founders of Bugs Originals, a company located outside of Amsterdam. Already sold at 24 Dutch food wholesalers, freeze dried locusts and mealworms are better for the environment.

“Crickets, for example, convert feed to body mass about twice as efficiently as pigs and five times as efficiently as cattle. Insects require less land and water—and measured per kilogram of edible mass, mealworms generate 10 to 100 times less greenhouse gas than pigs,” reports Daniel Fromson of The Atlantic.

The company, owned by Marian Peters, hails from the nation known for the highest concentration of food scientists in the world. It’s also where entomologist Arnold van Huis lives. An advocate for bug burgers and the like, he and Peters formed the Dutch Insect Breeders Association less than five years ago in order to help farmers and make the critters more available. The results were well received.

“The United Nations noticed: van Huis spent three months last year helping the UN Food and Agriculture Organization develop a policy to promote edible insects. And last April, the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture awarded van Huis’s team nearly $1.5 million to study insect-rearing and develop purified insect protein for use in processed foods,” the article states.

Although bugs aren’t very popular treats or toppings here in the U.S., that might change. Entom Foods, a University of Chicago student group’s idea, received $10,000 at a competition earlier this year, in part because of their grasshopper cookies, according to an article in The Core (found via this Utne Reader post). The group plans to open up a business, giving Americans the opportunity to join much of the rest of the world.

“Many types of insects appear on menus today. Bugs remain a traditional food in many cultures across Africa, Asia, and Latin America,” Gene DeFoliart, a professor emeritus of entomology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, told National Geographic a few years ago. "People are poisoning the planet by ridding it of insects [with pesticides used in industrial agriculture], rather than eating insects and keeping artificial chemicals off plants that we eat." So dig in (and don't worry about that antenna hanging out of your mouth). Also, let us know: Would you eat bugs?

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