Bugs as a Food Source


I wonder what people’s thoughts surrounding eating bugs are. Would bugs make a good source of protein to replace beef, pork etc long term? Would you want to eat bugs?


To replace beef and pork? No. As an additional protein source or as a replacement for shrimp or something more similar to their flavor and texture, sure. Might be a good substitute for people with shellfish allergies or in places where fresh seafood is hard to come by (e.g. imagine a locust tempura instead of shrimp, or a southwestern scorpion on the barbeque)


I know a few farms have opened in France for food-grade mealworms and crickets and it made big headlines with big claims about future production capabilities. I have never thought too deeply about it as I’m trying to head to a plant-based diet anyway.

My biggest worry would be that making insects palatable to the general public would probably rely on flour/powder at industrial scale and I have some doubts in our ability to effectively enforce food safety standards, but that has more to do with a new industry that will have to operate with tight margins to convince the switch is worth it than anything inherent to insect consumption.


I wonder since intensive meat / dairy farming leads to water pollution - what the fallout is from insect farming? Perhaps better for ‘manuring crop fields’ ?



My standard approach to all foodstuffs will prevail: Delicious? Safe? I’ll eat it.


I’ve eaten mopane worms, some sort of locust/grasshopper common in Rwanda, various ant species, and a patty made from some sort of midge that swarms on Lake Victoria. I’ve also tried several protein bars that were made with cricket protein powder.

For whole insects getting past the texture can be a problem for most of us that didn’t grow up eating insects on a regular basis. Protein powder derived from insects is only a slightly easier sell. I doubt that directly eating insects will ever catch on in the West. Feeding farmed insects to poultry or fish makes sense though.

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Meat addicts will resort to anything to avoid going plant-based.

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A good source of protein if your stranded. Ever watched Bear Grylls?

I really don’t care and don’t get the outrage happening in media right now because of new regulations in the EU to allow for a certain percentage of insects in food.

I try going vegetarian since decades (mainly ethical and ecological reasons, I unfortunately love the taste) but I am failing just as long. It’s really hard for me. Since a few months we started again trying a new step-by-step approach not eating pig for starters (which is actually most of the meaty food for a German)… it’s doing ok, but I do grave certain meats and sausages badly… which I fear will eventually break neck again.

I still hope one day there will be substitutional products that are able to help me staying strong… I would not mind at all if they are from the lab or made out of insects, as long as they feel ethically and ecologically superior to me.

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Try the flexitarian approach?

I’m vegetarian but still, too much cheese and dairy products. Aiming at some vegan meals in between.


I really don’t care and don’t get the outrage happening in media right now because of new regulations in the EU to allow for a certain percentage of insects in food.

The public perception of food safety is often not rational and that’s perfectly fine. Most people, myself included, don’t have the necessary knowledge to make an informed call on either ingredients or processes. Those worries just serve as an imperfect proxy for transparency and trust in the system.

I remember seeing videos about insect farms for reptile keepers/breeders branching out and making snacks fit for human consumption, either from whole insects or flour. Their approach seems like the right way to me, they wear these ingredients front and center and that’s the point. Otherwise, you fall into the trap of dodgy-looking ingredients like mycoprotein, horsemeat or (arguably less so now) soy that are perfectly fine on their own but become synonymous with questionable industry/marketing practices.

The issue is that when you’re a big company making a significant investment like those I’m seeing pop out, you pretty much have to hit mass market as soon as possible and I don’t think we are at the stage where that’s possible with “Jiminy Cricket’s bugalicious organic cookies” quite yet.

Philosophically I have zero issues with eating insects as long as people are informed about that (I would like to avoid a future Snowpiercer situation, thank you very much.) But man it is 100% a textural thing for me, I just… cant with the crunchy bits.

I was also the child that didn’t like fruit in her yogurt because TEXTURE ISSUES though. And I don’t really eat shrimp or crayfish for similar reasons. But if someone made a product that tasted great and didn’t have the textural ick for me? Sure

I am trying to limit meats. Am just not able to cut them out completely.

… vegan is completely out of the question for me unfortunately (although I actually think the diary cattle has it much worse ethically then the meat cattle). I just cannot imagine leaving cheese out of my diet… subtitute a lot of sausage-meals now with cheese :-)

However, I know vegan is actually delicious… I do not mind eating vegan. Some family members are and vegan and amazing cooks and I loooooove what they do. Unfortunately they live on the other side of the world and I am not able to replicate that

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Do you know of any butchers/farmers around you that raise their animals ethically? I generally try to go the route of harm reduction when it comes to meat and purchase local animals that I know are being raised in good conditions - but I’m also very lucky and privileged to not only live in an area where it is very easy to raise farm animals without spending a lot of fossil fuels to truck in food & water, but I also live five minutes away from a butcher that one of these ethical farms sell their meat through.

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I think it really helps that I am not at all a picky eater and will be at the very least content with eating many kinds of food. I have tried a bunch of different bugs before (mealworms, scorpions, tarantulas, silkmoth pupae, grasshoppers etc.) and well, they aren’t as bad as expected, so I don’t particularly mind them much.

In terms of bugs being a protein replacement for beef, pork, chicken, tofu etc, I think that is more complicated than a yes or no question. The resources needed to farm insects would be much lesser than that of livestock, which could be more sustainable in the long run, but I don’t think many can be convinced by that potential alone. We must remember that a significant percentage of people (especially Western civilizations) associate insects with being dirty, disgusting etc., so it will be hard to break that taboo quickly.

That is a bit easier in Germany, where I tried to be aware of how the animals where kept.

It´s much more difficult to impossible in Colombia… especially since I barely use my kitchen actually but order most of dishes. I just try to limit meaty things in general. Fortunately there are at least a growing variety of vegeterian or vegan options here.


Yeahhh that’s rough, sounds like you’ve managed to strike a balance at least.

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As others have pointed out, it’s a tough sell in cultures where bugs are widely considered “gross,” but lots of cultures eat bugs regularly.

I recommend this podcast episode for anyone who’s interested in learning more about this topic: https://www.alieward.com/ologies/entomophagy-anthropology

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