Accepting the future of food in the West
Edible bugs are consumed by around 2 billion people across the globe. However, Westerners still shiver at the idea of biting down on a live edible insect. Instead they mass produce farm animals that are an environmental, ethical, and cultural concern today. Westerners are comfortable with consuming beasts but not bugs. What lies behind the disgust that prevents the consumption of this sustainable and nutrient-dense food in this part of the world? Perfect Protein dives into the reasons why, edible insect protein, the future of food, is still not a mainstream idea.
Why the anti-bug culture?
The history of eating bugs
Historically, the diet of humans as hunters and gatherers included bugs well before they turned to eating meat. Across North America, South America and Europe, and most tropical countries, hunters and gatherers were known to consume insects. To this day, Thai children are eating grasshopper and cricket snacks. Mexicans are drinking tequila with mealworms at the bottom. In China, bees are a delicacy that is roasted for high-end restaurants. But a shift in the North American and European culture changed the way bugs are viewed and led to their exclusion from the diet.
Entomophobia is the fear of bugs and insects – touching, seeing, or eating them. This is one of the most common phobias and has been a staple stigma in Western culture. Moreover, bugs and insects earned a bad reputation due to two reasons. One is the destruction of crops by bugs that led to the introduction of pesticides. The other reason is the scientific evidence that showed that bugs and insects spread diseases. These two problems created the cultural taboo in the Western world and put off the population from incorporating bugs in their diet due to a lack of differentiation between good and bad insects.
Food plays a strong part in social and cultural identity. In the US certain associations are made with certain types of food.
- Hot dogs and hamburgers help identify with popular American activities such as baseball and cook-outs.
- Steak and oysters can suggest wealth because they are expensive to produce and purchase.
- Organic foods may help communicate a commitment to environmental awareness.
- Eating insects seems base and the last resort act that suggests the inability to afford and access sanctioned food items.
Visually, bugs are not appealing as a meal for most Westerners. Understandably, they are used to certain standards of how their plates and food must look like. Even if the nutritional value of the food on their plates is poor, its visual appeal makes it a winner. Perfect Protein has not only managed to remove this visual challenge from insect consumption but also made the nutrient-dense food very palatable and interesting for its consumers.
Breaking down the bug “yuck” factor
Insects, algae, and synthetic biology sources may make up over 50 percent of the alternative protein market by 2054, according to a recent report. Here are some facts that highlight why the resistance to insect consumption is irrational:
- FDA allows for a certain amount of insects, considered natural and unavoidable defects, in foods. In the United States, it is a well-known fact that insects are the "hidden" ingredients in foods like catsup, peanut butter, and beer, the hops used in beer are infested with an 'acceptable' level of aphids.
- Americans have adapted to eating sushi (raw fish); crab, lobster, and shrimp (the insects of the sea); and other "yucky" animal products, including chicken embryo, (eggs), and bovine lactation (cow's milk).
- Practically all of the amino acid supplements that athletes love are derived from duck feathers or human hair.
- Insects actually taste great. Their taste cannot be judged by how they look. Some insects like crickets have a nutty taste. While other insects have the quality of absorbing the flavor of what they are fed. Moreover, once they are processed and turned into powder, they obtain a neutral flavor. This allows the possibility of combining them with other ingredients that people are used to and like.
Considering all of the above-mentioned facts, bug protein should be accepted in mainstream culture and introduced easily into the common diet. Once past the yuckiness mindset, insects are the most efficient and sustainable protein today besides being quite palatable. Perfect Protein’s cricket protein bars that are high on nutrition, as well as flavor, make consuming edible insect protein easy and delightful.
Why Perfect Protein?
Perfect Protein, a wholly owned brand of Dalayla farms, creates consumable protein products using 100% sustainably raised crickets from its in-house farm.
- With Perfect Protein, clients have access to flavorful products that are a great source of complete protein with all 9 essential amino acids produced with minimal environmental impact.
- Crickets are very nutritionally dense sources of food. Here is their nutrition profile:
- 65% protein by volume
- High in iron
- High in fiber
- More B12 than salmon
- All 9 amino acids
- More calcium than milk
- 15% More iron than spinach
Visit the Perfect Protein farm to see how it works. Call at (716) 597-8656 or visit our shop online at www.crkt.life