While Americans aren’t exactly lining up to eat a bowl of crickets, eating insects as part of a balanced diet is a staple of culture in many other countries around the world.
The trend may be accelerating here in the United States, however, as biologists say edible insects may provide solutions to hunger and climate change.
“They’re low in fat, they’re high in nutrients, minerals and calcium,” says Irina Andrianavalona, processing manager at Valala Farms in Madagascar.
Unlike traditional forms of protein, like beef, conservationists say creepy critters like crickets, mealworms, waxworms and more require less water, food and space to roost. develop.
This creates opportunities to reduce deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions and resource consumption.
According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, “25% of global land use, land use change and forest emissions are due to beef production”, as more of the world’s remaining forests are converted to agricultural land for livestock and crops.
But in countries like Madagascar, researchers say making room for more cows is not sustainable. Instead, the production of edible insects increases.
“This will be our contribution to our fight against malnutrition in Madagascar,” said Irina Andrianavalona.
Meanwhile, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations says farmers around the world need to increase the size of their harvest by almost 70% by 2050.
While insects can fill our stomachs, the UN says their waste can also be converted into low-cost fertilizer for crop growth.
Barclays Bank estimates show that the value of the insect protein market is expected to grow from less than $1 billion to over $8 billion by 2030.
Fox News’ Marianne Rafferty contributed to this report.