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Natural Awakenings National

Entomophagy Industry Sees Growth

Beetle bug on green leaf

Egor Kamelev/

It may come as a surprise to most Americans, but people have been eating insects (entomophagy) for thousands of years, and they are part of the diets of more than 2 billion people. The United Nations predicts that this rapidly growing industry could be worth $6.3 billion by 2030, so bug-based products may soon appear in local stores. Although Western food markets have excluded insects in favor of animal-based protein, insect-based foods offer many health and environmental benefits, especially in light of the pressures from climate change.

Insects produce 80 times less methane than cattle and use less space, feed, water, housing and maintenance. One pound of beef requires 1,850 gallons of water, one pound of chicken uses 500 gallons and one pound of crickets requires one gallon. Nestlé and PepsiCo are conducting research and development forays into the field, and smaller, nimble startups are making plans to introduce new products. Names to watch include Mighty Cricket, Illegal Oats, Jiminy’s, Aspire (Exo Bar), BeoBia and FarmInsect. Public acceptance is expected to be gradual.

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