Edible bugs have been on the plates of around 2 billion people worldwide. Can you imagine crunching down on a dried cricket or grasshopper? Most North American foodies would shiver at the idea of biting down on a live edible insect. But, if there are that many people in the world who are eating bugs daily, why is it that we are so disgusted at the thought of it? Instead we mass produce farm animals and consume a high animal protein diet. This question raises so many concerns; environmentally, ethically, and culturally. Let’s dive into why we are scared of eating bugs but not beasts?
The History Behind Eating Bugs
Our historical background as hunter and gatherers have led us to a generation of drive thru experts and 30 minute meal champions. But why did our diet change so drastically over the last 3 million years? In order to survive, our ancestors turned to meat because of the heavy rain that was drowning the crops in the rainforest. Thus creating the original Paleo Diet. But, what most Paleo diets exclude is the fact that eating bugs were very much a part of the hunter and gatherers diet – even well before they turned to meat.
Not only were the hunter and gatherers of North America, South America and Europe eating bugs, but most tropical countries were participating as well. To this day, Thai children are eating grasshopper and cricket snacks. Mexicans are drinking tequila with mealworms at the bottom. In China, bees are seen as a delicacy and roasted for high end restaurants. Eating bugs has always been in the forefront of diets around the world; but a shift in the North American and European culture changed the way we view bugs and why we choose not to include them in our diet.
Timone and Pumba are staple characters that most Disney movie watchers know and love. Watching The Lion King at a friends birthday party and singing along to the catchy tunes. But, as soon as its time for Timone and Pumba to eat, we all in unison yell “EW” as they feast of the grubs and bugs of the forest. These characters were humanized enough that we paralleled them eating bugs as us eating bugs. Why is it that we are so disgusted when we see someone eating bugs and insects?
Entomophobia is the fear of bugs and insects – touching, seeing or eating them. This fear is among the top contenders for most common phobias and has been a staple stigma in Western culture. Bugs and insects have had a bad rap! Since the growth of crop farming insects having been bugging farmers. Pesticides were introduced and bugs were wiped out in masses, then renaming them as pests. Bugs continued to get a bad reputation when diseases ravaged through countries. New science and technologies were able to prove that bugs and insects were spreading the diseases. These two problems that associated bugs created a cultural taboo and put Westerners off from eating or even trying to incorporate bugs into their diet.
We are a world built on visuals. What we see usually determines if we like or don’t like it. Westerners of the 21st century are used to a certain standard when it comes to what the food on their plates look like, but most of the time that food has low quality nutrition. Bugs and insects still have the “ICK” factor and most Westerners would send their food back if they saw a cricket or grasshopper added to their burger and fries. The bug itself, visually, is what turns most customers off from adding bugs into their diet. Fit Cricket is working to create a more comfortable customer experience and hiding the power protein in powder and protein bars.
As the world moves towards a better understanding of Global Warming, we can look at the products that are being mass produced and try to educate ourselves on the best products available for helping the environment. Eating bugs instead of meat protein is one of them. Livestock production releases more greenhouse gases than all forms of transportation and cricket farming emits less than one tenth as much. Farming animals has not only contributed to the increase in greenhouse gases, but it has continued to deplete our food and water sources as well. Farming bugs and insects would decrease these numbers and create a more sustainable future for human consumption.
The World has progressed excessively in military technology, but lacks a proper sustainable plan for the environment. The United Nations and agricultural organizations believe that the future increase in population will be detrimental to our livelihood; and in 2050 the world will not be able to sustain and supply food to all 9.1 billion people. Livestock farming has a big role in the destruction of our world and we can choose to change the way we think about how to supply our bodies with protein. Cricket farming ensures that the world is benefiting and YOU are benefiting. You can continue to get your protein and you can help the environment in a time of need.
Fit Cricket is able to take the superfood insect and transform its cultural taboo and perception, as well helping the world one bar at a time! Check out our shop for more information.