Bugs: The ultimate sustainable food source


Seafood platterBugs are a great source of protein, are low in fat and chemical free. It’s kinder on our planet too – farming a pound of caterpillar uses a tenth of the resource than a pound of beef. Sometimes prawns are referred to as sea fleas and crabs look a bit like spiders. Cockroaches and shrimp are distant relatives, both hailing from the phylum Arthropoda family. Sea roaches look similar to cockroaches and are eaten in America and the Caribbean. Many would consider that the Moreton Bay bugs pictured here look sumptuous. Could eating bugs be the answer to finding an environmentally friendly source of protein?

There are 1,700 insects that are edible. In Laos over 95% of the population consumes insects in one form or another. The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation has been working with the locals in Laos on a project to farm insects to create food security.


In Camodia the locals eat tarantula which is deep fried. This BBC journalist is a little weary, claiming that he thinks he saw it move on the plate, but tucks in sceptically.

In this era of environmental consiousness maybe we’ll draw some inspiration from living off what the land provides, just like the Aborigines.



  1. I am sure i would have no problems eating bugs if that is what i had been used to all my life. But the very thought of it now makes my stomach turn…..and may even turn me to becoming veggie – just as environmentally friendly, no?!?

  2. Brigitta – I think you’ve made a good point about our perception of food is what you’ve been introduced to. If I had never seen a prawn or crab then was given one to eat in it’s full armoury I would be very afraid.

  3. Many communities in Kenya eat Termites and i remember i eat them when i was young !!.

  4. Eating insect might become the new fat loss fad. It’s low fat and how protein.

  5. Cockroaches and shrimp are distant relatives?!!! I’ve tried fried grasshoppers and they are great with cold beer 🙂

  6. In principle I would have no issues eating insects. If you’re in Bangkok’s Khao San Road, where most of the backpackers end up, you will notice a lot of street stalls selling fried and cooked insects. It goes well with all the daring travellers and provides good picture opportunities.

    I have tried the deep-fried grasshoppers with soy sauce and would always give them a go for any tv night. Much crispier than any potato chip I have ever eaten, hahaha.

    Eating of the big spiders is something which I am a bit sceptical of, because these take quite some time to grow to the big size and do not reproduce that fast, so it might be depleting the natural population, with unknown effects on nature.

    If you process the insects to some kind of cake or powder, I think people would not have lesser issues eating them. We would also shy away from eating a whole chicken, including all intestines, whereas a fillet is something else.

    Considering the growth of the global population and the food shortages already at hand, i do not think that we have much of an option in the future other than adding insects to our food :-))


  7. Americans eat processed foods that are genetically alternated and comes with lots of chemical additives and yet we get grossed out by natural organic food of other cultures.

    Inspects are almost all protein and very little fat yet we choose to eat foods like hotdog that are mostly almost 1/3 fat.

    Many insects are crustaceans like lobsters and shrimp. If cooked right, they taste just like it.

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