Food Prediction: We'll be eating bugs within 10 years

I mean in the US since other cultures already do eat bugs. Here’s why and how I think it will happen:

What we eat, for the most part, is controlled by a handful of companies and they know that the world doesn’t have the resources to feed everyone cows forever. They also know that insects are plentiful, easy to raise, don’t take a lot of space and I’m sure are full of protein, vitamins and minerals. Switching over to bugs solves a lot of problems and saves them money. They have an incentive to do this.

Other cultures, as I mentioned, already eat them. Western culture doesn’t because they are disgusting so that is really the only hurdle. Here’s how they could fix that: the first step is to breed them so they A) look less like bugs after processing and B) taste good, or even better don’t taste like anything at all so they can just bury them in salt and other flavors. The food scientists will get it to a point where they just need to get people to try them and they will eat them.

Once they have a product they think they could sell, Marketing goes to work. They will figure out a name to downplay what they are and where they come from. Then they get celebrities and other influential personalities (YouTube stars etc.) to start eating them. It will be one of those, “can you believe what Hollywood is doing?” type stories. At the same time they will get hipsters to start to also eat them, probably using the angle of trying the food of other cultures. It will take time but it will get a foothold in our culture and establish the idea that insects can be food.

From there, it is just a matter of time. The idea will eventually trickle down from the Hipsters and Celebs to the wealthy, then to the upper middle class and then down and down until everyone does it. Thus we’ll all be eating bugs and liking it. :slight_smile:

Am I crazy? Also, what food predictions do you have?

Given the other “foods of the future” which utterly failed to take off, I’m dubious.

Some wouldn’t necessarily say no to a Meatbug Ragout* or Stir Fry Crickets, but there’s a pretty huge culinary leap, so you’d really need to sell people on it. You’d be more likely to get this to work if it were some kind of delicacy, where customers would pay high prices. This is unlikely to work as a low-cost measure, because nobody’s likely to jump for something that even the vendor thinks of as merely cheap protein.

Although, strictly speaking, we do eat insects, just in the form of crustaceans.

*It’s a reference to the classic game franchise Gothic. Meatbugs are basically pillbugs the size of a rat, and commonly eaten in stews.

Yes, you’re crazy. But we still like you.

I can’t see it happening in ten years. The US is wealthy enough (and enough beef is produced domestically) that we’ll probably be eating the last cheeseburgers. I could see a shift to more poultry or maybe some smaller, more efficient mammals but I don’t see bugs taking off in a big way this next decade.

You can find some insect products in America already, especially at ethnic stores.

I have seen Food Network reference “cricket flour” and this would be an easy way to use the ingredient without making people feel like they’re eating bugs. All it would take is a successful fad diet that used cricket flour in shakes or bars to really get it off the ground.

I’m not sure most Americans are ready for eating whole insects the way they often do in other countries. Within ten years, I could possibly see that catching on with a small demographic, but not the majority of population. Even then, I’d expect that to be a very unpredictable fad explosion, like chipotles, kale, quinoa or acai berries. It could happen tomorrow… or might never happen at all.

I agree with the fad thing. Start with the hipsters.

Sushi was a trendy thing 30 years ago. Now it’s mainstream.

What advantage do insects have over soybeans or wheat gluten? What would lead a producer or consumer looking to replace beef to choose cricket patties over tofu or seitan or various other vegetable options?

Ant eggs (yeah, I know they’re really pupae, not eggs) taste quite good. I help myself to a handful whenever I turn a stone in the garden.

I think it would take a real crisis to get there. Americans will try novel, but there are certain taboos we’re hard pressed to get over in day to day eating. If other alternatives like beef, pork and grain are available, I think it will be hard to get over the ew factor.

Besides, how will you tell if your apartment was infested or your bag of Snacko Insect parts just wasn’t dead yet?

Eh, I think all you nay sayers are possibly wrong, but I think 10 years is too soon if it does happen. 20 to 30 years seems more realistic to me.

Thank you :slight_smile:

Re: the time frame. I think I should have said at least 10 years because I agree it could very well take longer.

You may, but count me out.

Many people are not able to eat gluten or soy. Maybe true allergies are not that common, but lesser levels of gastric distress, diarrhea, projectile vomiting, and general malaise are not.

Where did you get that idea?

I agree with this. With the worldwide population ever-increasing, it’s going to become more and more difficult to feed all of us and more efficient food sources will be necessary. Cows take a lot of resources.

Hopefully, factory farming, in general, will be more humane by then. :frowning:

Either that, or we’ll figure out an economical way to grow cloned mammal flesh in vats. The seed DNA can be harvested without killing the animal so there wouldn’t be any issues with the humane treatment of livestock. This would also open the door to new types of meat being commercially available. :wink:

It takes a lot of water, grain and land to make one pound of beef. As delicious as hamburgers and steak are, it’s one of the least efficient methods of feeding ourselves that there is.

This. But i ate several types of bugs at the nature camp i went to as a kid, and many bugs are quite tasty. I especially liked fresh yellow ants and fried grasshoppers. I can see some bugs catching on as a niche exotic food. But i don’t see widespread use in the US fit decades at the earliest.

And there are still plenty of people who say sushi is gross and they won’t eat it. I’m certain there will be many Americans who won’t eat bugs for the next several decades.

So? Just because it’s not very efficient doesn’t mean people aren’t going to keep dedicating the resources (which we generally have an abundance of) for a very long time to come.

I have eaten grasshoppers, bees, ants and caterpillars. I prefer cheeseburgers.

Yeah, you’re crazy.