Why Food Futurologists Think We'll Be Eating Bugs in a Couple of Years

July 30, 2012 9:54 PM EDT | By Anthony Smith
"Now I'm the best part of eating at restaurants!" (Photo: Creative Commons)

Food futurologists are citing "volatile food prices and a growing population" as the chief reasons why we'll have to drastically change our eating habits in the years to come. But how drastically are we talking here?

"In the West," begins food futurologist Morgaine Gaye, "many of us have grown up with cheap, abundant meat. Rising prices mean we are now starting to see the return of meat as a luxury. As a result we are looking for new ways to fill the meat gap."

Does this mean we're all going to become vegetarians? If so, will we be as God-awful smug as the ones we know? Don't worry about that-- worry about Gaye's prediction that insects (yes, insects) will become the backbone of our diet.

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If you're squeamish, you may have to sit down. But if you're a pragmatist with an open-mind, then maybe you'll consider the possibility of munching on replacing the bacon in your BLT with a beetle. After all, insects provide comparable nutritional value to the meat which we eat regularly, and on top of that, they're an excellent source of protein. But anything that crunches that loud and keeps twitching when you step on it has to be loaded with protein.

On top of that, a shift towards eating insects will ease our footprint on the earth in a big way. They cost significantly less to raise than our typical western livestock, they consume far less water, and they do not have as much of a carbon footprint. Rounding that off with an estimated 1,400 species of edible bugs and already we're opening the door to a new, exciting, terrifying cuisine.

It should be noted that Gaye is not talking about a shish kebab piercing through ten barbecued cockroaches. Rather, the futurologist suggests that we'll be creating insect burgers and sausages that resemble their meat counterparts in much the same way that vegetarians and vegans do it.

If all of this sounds like crazy speculation, look to the Dutch government, which has already invested one million euros into researching putting insects into the regular diet, and is already preparing legislation concerning the commercial farming of insects. And let's not forget the cultures that eat insects as a regular, or semi-regular, part of their diets.

But how do we get around the fact that we're eating bugs in the west? Gaye recommends we start by calling them mini-livestock. Didn't Shakespeare say something about roses?

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