National Geographic : 2014 Sep
FOOD OTHER FEED 0 10 lbs 20% 10 0 Protein Fat 5 ON THE MENU ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT A DELICACY EFFICIENT PROTEIN 2 billion 2,000 40% 12x 31% 18% 15% 13% 14 38 269 88 4.8 lbs (80%) 6 lbs 4.5 (50) 2.2 (55) 1.1 (55) 0.4 (40) 9 4 2 1 23% BEETLES CATERPILLARS OTHER MEALWORM PIG MEALWORM PIG FULL BODY MASS EDIBLE PORTION ANTS, BEES, WASPS CRICKETS, GRASS- HOPPERS, LOCUSTS COW CRICKET PIG CHICKEN SALMON DRAGONFLIES, FLIES, TERMITES 10 LBS OF FEED PRODUCES... A CIRCULAR ECONOMY NUTRITIONAL VALUE NEXT | FOOD BY THE NUMBERS Edible Insects As incomes rise in developing countries, so too does the demand for meat. But raising livestock uses a lot of resourc- es. Eating insects—already common in many tropical countries—could be an alterna- tive. Beetles and crickets, for example, are packed with nutrients and provide protein at a low environmental cost. Palatability poses a problem. “People have an emotional response to bugs—it’s the yuck factor,” says Arnold van Huis of Wageningen University in the Netherlands. To disguise their form, insects can be pro- cessed into powders or pastes. What’s next? Protein-rich “bug flours” that are part flour and part ground insect will likely be on the market soon. —Kelsey Nowakowski Watch the video version of Food by the Numbers at ng.com/foodbynumbers. MORE THAN A FOURTH OF THE WORLD’S PEOPLE EAT INSECTS. NUMBER OF KNOWN EDIBLE SPECIES CRICKETS ARE AS EFFICIENT AS CATTLE. MOST COMMONLY CONSUMED Beetles are the most consumed species; mealworms are beetle larvae. Edible insects provide a sustainable alternative to meat. They are a healthy food source with a high protein and fat content, but their nutritional value varies by species. Cold-blooded insects and fish convert feed to body mass more efficiently than birds and mammals do. The percent of protein and fat in crickets is similar to that of most meats. The popularity of Western diets is reducing insect consumption in developing countries.