This is one of the conclusions of the paper ‘Could consumption of insects, cultured meat or imitation meat reduce global agricultural land use?’, which studied several substitutes for animal products as sources of both protein and energy.
The study compared the environmental impacts of conventional meat production with those of alternative sources of food and of course edible insects are one of the more certain possibilities.
Scientists at the N8 Research Partnership, University of Edinburgh and Scotland’s Rural College considered a scenario in which half of the current mix of animal products are replaced by insects, lab-grown meat or imitation meat. They explained that introducing edible insects into our diets regularly could improve many of the environmental issues caused by livestock production, such as reducing agricultural land footprints and atmospheric greenhouse gases.
Eating insects instead of beef could help to tackle climate change by reducing harmful emissions, according to the paper. Rearing insects as food is a far more efficient use of land than traditional livestock farming, and insects are able to convert agricultural by-products and food waste into food. Introducing insects more commonly into our diets would help achieve a more sustainable food system.
Researchers explained also that “edible insects have the potential to become a major source of human nutrition, and can be produced more efficiently than conventional livestock, in terms of converting biomass into protein or calories.”
The study confirms that edible insects “are high in fat, protein and micronutrients, and can be produced with lower levels of GHG emissions and water consumption” and “Insects are also high in a variety of micronutrients such as the minerals copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, selenium, and zinc and the vitamins riboflavin, pantothenic acid, biotin, and in some cases folic acid.”
The efficiency of insects to convert feed into edible food is in part, researchers explained, due to the higher fraction of insect consumed (up to 100%), compared to conventional meat ( 40% of live animal weight is consumed in the case of cattle). Insects are poikilothermic, so they do not use their metabolism to heat or cool themselves, reducing energy usage. They tend to have higher fecundity than conventional livestock, potentially producing thousands of offspring. Efficiency is also increased by rapid growth rates and the ability of insects to reach maturity in days rather than months or years.
So, what you are waiting for? Edible insects are the option for a healthy diet and a better place to live. We are not the only ones who believes edible insects are the key for a better future — join our food revolution!
* You can read the paper here