Insects as food: the protein source of the future?

7. Sep. 2023

For most people in Germany and Europe, insects are probably still a rather unusual ingredient on the menu. Will that change soon? After all, around two billion people worldwide already eat insects on a regular basis. And that is not surprising, because there are about 2000 edible species of insects on earth. From beetles and caterpillars to grasshoppers and ants, it's all there.

For more than a decade, experts, and research institutes around the world have been addressing the question of how to reduce meat consumption.  Time and again, they have come to the same conclusion: Only with alternative sources of protein, such as edible insects, will it be possible in the long term to meet the steadily increasing demand for meat globally. The fact that the mass farming of cattle, pigs, and other creatures does neither the animals nor the climate any good has long since ceased to be a secret. Insects still have some advantages over this. They can convert nutrients better and are very rich in protein. They also require less water and space. It can be said that no farm animal works and grows as efficiently as insects. A look at the market for edible insects also looks promising.

Here are a few figures for comparison: to produce one kilogram of edible weight, a cow needs more than 15,000 liters of water and 16 kilograms of feed, while buffalo worms need only one liter of water and 2 kilograms of feed. During breeding, a cow produces 100 grams of greenhouse gas emissions per kilogram of body mass, while buffalo worms produce only one gram. In addition, the protein produced by insects is very high quality and often comes with important minerals, trace elements, B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids.

While it does not produce insects, it can sustain you with nutritious leafy greens all year around. Check out the AeroGarden Harvest*

By the way, most edible insect species can be prepared both savory and sweet. The small animals themselves have little flavor of their own, and can therefore be super seasoned. Whether fried whole, caramelized and deep-fried, or used as a powder, insects are very versatile.

But why is it justifiable to kill and eat this type of animal?

One thing is clear, one can never argue (animal) ethically or morally when killing animals for consumption. However, many factors can be included that may make it more understandable and morally defensible. At least as a temporary solution. Firstly, the just mentioned advantages for the environment, but also the less complex body structure (compared to mammals) speak for taking insects seriously as an alternative. In addition, insects often live together in very close quarters in nature, which makes the question of correct husbandry much easier to answer.

Lebensmittel Foto erstellt von freepik -

Our conclusion is and remains that there are enough alternatives to animal proteins, especially here in Germany and Central Europe, and the easiest solution to do something against climate change would be a change to a low meat diet.

*The links to sources of supply are affiliate links: If you buy through them, you are actively supporting, as we will then receive a small portion of the sales proceeds. Thank you very much! :-


Tillmann Stickler

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