When our grannies were born, there were fewer than 2 billion people on the planet. Now we are more than 7 billion, and the numbers are on the rise. Clearly, there are some challenges ahead if we want to take care of the needs of everybody adequately ….
Problems! - Food demand is expected to rise by around 50% in the next 20 years, but land for farming is becoming increasingly scarce. Over 70% of agricultural land, an area as large as the Americas, is taken up livestock rearing. This means that a huge share of global resources is dedicated just to farming animals. When we take into account the energy and resources needed to transport, process and distribute these type of ‘traditional sources of protein’, we end up with a big environmental bill to pay…
Moreover, not everybody gets an equal share of the cake. Many members of the global population are excluded from accessing large amounts of meat or other forms of protein, generally because of unaffordability or unavailability. In fact certain areas of the world suffer from issues of food insecurity because of unfavourable economic, social or environmental conditions. It would seem like we need to look at affordable and available alternatives to traditional livestock if we want to increase people’s chances of having the appropriate amounts of nutritious food in their plates.
So… what could one of these alternatives be?
Edible insects can have similar nutritional values as traditional livestock and have many key advantages. Compare producing a kilogramme of insects to a kilogramme of beef. The insects require significantly less land, less food and less space. They also produce lower greenhouse gas emissions and reproduce far quicker. These and other factors make them a good option when looking for a cheap and sustainable solution.
Sounds good on paper, but how does this work in a real-world setting? That is what Bugs for Life set off to find out….