What’s Stopping You Eating Insects? 🐛

What’s Stopping You Eating Insects? 🐛


Insects, sound like something you could see
yourself dishing up for dinner? Perhaps a housefly pizza topping? Meal worm salad? Or beetle soup? Anyone …. no? Maybe you won’t see it in this weeks menu,
but by 2050, entomophagy, the practice of eating insects, could become normality. The UN projects that by 2050 the earth’s population
will rise to 9.7 billion, a number that will put more stress on food production than ever
before. Currently, nutritional benefits such as protein,
omega 3 and healthy fats are commonly provided to us from chicken, fish and beef. However, livestock production is also the
second largest contributor of greenhouse gases at 18 percent! More than the transport sector! As a result of the rising population, any
increase in production will only further lead to an increase in environmental degradation
and global warming. And that’s where insects come in! Not only are they faster to produce and less
energy and resource intensive, but often they are more nutritious than common providers. Take crickets, for example. In a 200 calorie
serving crickets have more protein than beef, chicken and existing livestock alternatives
like tofu. The trend continues across various species. Meal worms contain more omega-3 than salmon. Adult houseflies have more Vitamin B2 than
milk and beef, the vitamin used to convert carbohydrate to glucose. So why are insects not a more common part
of our diets? For me, it’s kind of weird to eat insects. If it was a living insect, then no probably
not. If it was within foods so I didn’t realise it was insect then maybe. Fear and disgust. Emotions which are triggered
by the thought of entomophagy. So how do you get people to start eating insects by 2050?
Well, that’s what Oxford Brookes PhD student, Indroneel Chatterjee, with supervision from
Professor Janine Dermody and Dr Sanjay Kumar, is hoping to find out. I get participants into a lab or I set up
certain labs at events and what I do is I test their personal levels of fear and disgust,
but obviously food related fear and food related disgust. And I test how their brain technically
reacts to these images and these visuals that suggest food neophobia and disgust and how
have the marketing materials really come into play with mediating the acceptance of insects. Lots and lots of interest, different kinds
of reactions. So, yes, the horror, particularly in relation to something like this, so, your
sort of Dune Beetle. But, if we take it to something like meal worms, you know these
are the things actually a lot of people feed their birds, so this has had a lot less resistance. We’ve come to this Venturefest hot on the
heels of the Oxford Science Festival where we had a completely different audience. We
had a lot of parents, a lot of children, and actually struggling to keep the children’s
hands off all of our samples because they just have no fear of them at all so they’ll
eat them. This year compared with last year, many more of their parents actually eating
those insects as well, so even in the last twelve months we’ve seen a big difference
from adults being willing to try these. Think you could be persuaded to eat insects?
Do you believe it’s really just mind over matter which is stopping us from switching roast
beef for cricket and chips? Let us know your thoughts, in the comments section down below!

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