Are Insects the Food of the Future? A Guest Post by Domen Krc, CEO of Zoic Ltd.
A veterinarian by training, Domen Krc founded Zoic Ltd. out of a passion to create a 100% natural, gluten, dairy, grain, lactose and soy free protein bar that consists from real food only, but when it came to sourcing the protein, he became convinced that insects were the highest quality, sustainable type of protein available. Thus the "edible insect" Zoic bar was born. You can find out more about Zoic at their website zoicbar.com
There are a few thousand species of mammals on Earth and about 6 million species of insects, with more being discovered all the time. Insects are much more abundant than we are – their biomass is over 200 times greater than that of all humans combined. Earth is not the planet of men. It is the planet of insects.
In human history eating insects used to be more of a rule than an exception.
In fact it still is in some parts of the world. Two thirds of the world's population eats insects on a daily basis and considers it as normal as eating chicken. (source)
Every one of us is already regularly eating insects without even knowing it.
And quite a lot of them too – the average person eats a pound of insects per year! How is this possible? Every processed food can contain small amounts of insect particles – we can find them in tomato soup, peanut butter, chocolate, even noodles… Manufacturers can’t allow more than 225 bug parts in 225 grams of pasta. Any less than 225 parts in that batch is OK for the FDA. (source)
It is a fact that the human population is going to change.
Our population is growing exponentially. At the moment there are 7 billion of us and this number is expected to increase to 9 billion by 2050. (source)
This means we will have more and more mouths to feed, which will cause a 70% increase in meat production. The cause for such a massive increase is that the wealth of people is quickly rising and, as a rule, when people get wealthier they start to eat more meat. In the developed world we consume 80kg of meat per person every year. In developing countries this average is only 25kg of meat per person, but it is increasing enormously.
In China yearly meat consumption has increased from 20kg to 50kg per person in just 20 years.
These numbers become even more alarming when we consider the fact that meat production is by far the most expensive part of agricultural production.
Traditional food production will have to change if we want to satisfy all of humanity’s needs.
Insects might be the answer.
Insects are cold-blooded and very efficient in converting feed into protein. Crickets, for example, need 12 times less feed than cattle to produce a gram of protein.
At the moment 1/3 of all agricultural land is being used for livestock production.
This includes not just breeding grounds, but all the fields used for feed production. We could expand our production capacity a little through deforestation, but cutting down rainforests to feed cattle is obviously not a good idea – and remember, we have to increase meat production by 70%! There is no sustainable way to achieve this. Sooner or later the world will have to switch to a better solution.
Here is where insects come in.
They can be breed vertically, so production facilities of the future may look like skyscrapers or might be set, invisible, underground. The options are limitless. (source)