If you have been following Rentokil for quite some time now then I’m sure you’ll know all about Pestaurant.
For those of you unfamiliar with this concept, Pestaurant was introduced by Rentokil to help show the world and educate people about the health benefits of an insect-rich diet, as well offer free expert advice to the public around pests.
Global Pestaurant 2015 saw an array of pop-up restaurants appear in 13 different countries across the globe, offering a range of delicious, and healthy snacks using edible insects. From chocolate chirp cookies to chili mealworms, Pestaurant had it all.
But why is introducing edible bugs to your diet so beneficial?
Did you know that around 1,900 species of insects have been identified as suitable food for humans? – That’s quite a lot!
Out of those 1,900 species…
- 31% are beetles (Coleoptera)
- 14% are bees, wasps, and ants (Hymenoptera)
- 3% are termites (Isoptera)
- 2% are flies (Diptera)
- 18% are caterpillars (Lepidoptera)
- 13% are grasshoppers, locusts, and crickets (Orthoptera)
- 10% are cicadas, leafhoppers, planthoppers, scale insects and true bugs (Hemiptera)
- 3% are dragonflies (Odonata)
- The last 5% are other orders of insects
With this large amount of edible protein, it’s no wonder the United Nations is trying to persuade people to eat more edible insects to help fight world hunger.
At what stages can you eat insects?
Although there is a wide range of edible bugs available, some of them are only fit for human consumption at different stages of their life cycles.
- Bees, Wasps and Ants
- Bees, Wasps and Ants
- Grasshoppers, Locusts, and Crickets
- Cicadas, Leafhoppers, Planthoppers, Scale Insects and True Bugs
One of the main health benefits behind edible insects are the large amounts of protein found in these small creatures.
- 1 kg of termites provides, roughly, 350g of protein, whereas the same amount of beef contains 320g.
- Caterpillars contain 280g of protein per 1 kg. That’s 20g more than salmon, 30g more than pork, and 263g more than tofu.
What are the other benefits of edible insects?
Asides from being extremely healthy, edible insects are a lot better for the environment compared to traditional forms of protein. This is down to a handful of ways.
That’s right it requires far less feed than beef, pork, and chicken to produce the same amount of protein.
Let’s put things into perspective. It takes 10kg to produce 1kg of beef, only half of which can actually be eaten. On the other hand 10kg of feed will produce 9kg of insects of which over 95% can be eaten!
The financial benefits of this are extremely positive. Not only does it cost far less money to produce edible insects in terms of feed, but the feed to meat ratio is far more superior.
On top of this because insects are cold-blooded they use far less energy than cattle and chicken to keep themselves warm. This means that more of their food goes towards growth (creating edible protein) than other animals.
Did you know that insects produce far fewer greenhouse gases than the traditional forms of protein?
- Crickets only produce 2g of CO2 per 1kg, that is extremely low compared to cattle, which produce 2850g of CO2!
- Producing 1kg of edible beef has a similar impact on the environment as driving 250km in a car.
- Compared to cattle, insects emit 60x less methane. That’s a huge difference, especially when you think methane gas has 25x more of an impact on global temperature levels than CO2.
- Production of animal product is responsible for 27% of our water footprint and 18% of greenhouse-gas emissions.
Insect farming, in comparison, requires very little space, both for the insects themselves and for their feed, reducing the environmental impact.
What if more people ate bugs?
The fact of the matter is, if more people switch to an insect-rich diet, replacing traditional forms of protein such as chicken and beef with bugs such as crickets, ants, and termites the world would be a different place.
Not only would it help to reduce world hunger, but also:
- Up to 30% of the world’s land surface could be reclaimed from the livestock industry. Allowing for larger urban growth to housing the increasing rise in population.
- Up to 18% of our global greenhouse gas emissions could be eliminated, helping to save the earth, and the polar ice caps.
- Up to 33% could be cut from average food prices in most countries, due to the cost-efficient nature of edible insects.
Interested in diving into the wonderful world of entomophagy (eating insects) but can’t get over the initial shock of eating insects? Then the Pestaurant cookbook is for you! Oh, and did we mention it’s free?!
You can find a whole range of tasty recipes in the Pestaurant cookbook such as:
- Mealworm Muffins
- Insect Flour Fruit Smoothie
- Cricket and Cream Cheese Wraps
- Cricket Caesar Salad
- And much, much more!
- Wageningen University
- Mekonnen & Hoekstra
- UN Food & Agriculture Organisation
- Entomological Society of America
- British Journal of Applied Science and Technology
- Beetlemania Infographic by Guardian Digital Agency