Insects are a much more sustainable source of protein than traditional meats such as beef or pork. As well as being high in protein, they contain important nutrients such as Omega 3 (often found in oily fish), calcium and iron.
Did you know that you need as much as 2500 times more water to get a kilogram of beef as you do to get a kilogram of crickets?
Insects such as crickets and mealworms contain iron and calcium, Vitamin A and B’s and Omega fatty acids. Crickets reportedly contain more iron than beef!
Farming of traditional livestock can be very taxing on the environment. We take land to grow crops to feed to our animals to feed to ourselves. Since cows are warm blooded, they need a lot of energy to stay warm. Insects are cold blooded and require ten times less feed than cows, per kg of meat. A lot of feed means a lot of manure, and this makes livestock, particularly cows, huge generators of greenhouse gases. Insects are 100 times more efficient in terms of emissions, and their poop, or frass, can be used as a fertiliser.
Check out how much water you need to get 1kg of beef compared to 1kg of crickets! Some people think that water shortages are not a problem for people living in the UK, but this is untrue. Water also has to be processed to make it clean, so using a lot of water is highly inefficient.
It is also interesting to think about the resources that are put into livestock farming relative to the amount of the animal that can actually be eaten. Only 40% of a cow is edible, relative to 80% of a cricket.
Insect farming isn’t just about eating insect burgers. Later this year (2015) it is believed that it will become legal to farm insects to cows and pigs. It recently became legal to feed insects to fish. The great thing about farming insects for animal feed is that it creates a circular economy.
Organic waste such as food or farming byproducts can be fed to insects such as the black soldier fly. The flies are very nutritious and incredibly high in calcium. Insects breed and create larvae which can then be turned into animal feed. We can finally give chickens one of their natural food sources!