Beatle in the box

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© Michela Benaglia – Emanuela Colombo

In 2050 we will be more than 9 billion people, we will live on a planet with increasingly scarce resources, less arable and available land, water pollution, deforestation caused by grazing and overheating of the global climate. How to cope with such a situation?

Insects are one of the likely responses that have been circulating among food and nutrition experts from all over the world for some time. More than 2 billion people already use insects for food purposes and the edible species on the market are over 1,900.

Until now, Europe has not authorised the sale of insects yet but, in the last few months something has changed and starting from 2018 a new law on Novel Food will enter into force facilitating the sale and the supply of insects within the European Union bringing all member states on a par with Holland and Belgium where insect based products have already been for sale in super- markets for a long time.

It must be taken into account that insects are extremely rich in proteins, vita-mins, carbohydrates, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, iron and other micronutrients as well as being among the foods with low environmental impact. Thanks to the size and to the biomass conversion index (by far higher than that of large animals), they produce much less excrement and consequently they pollute less affecting almost nil the production of greenhouse gases. This is an extremely important problem especially when it comes to intensive livestock farming. Moreover insects can be bred by using very few resources in terms of space, food, water and also energy.

To produce 1 kg of insects it is needed less than a liter of water against the 14,000 liters used to produce 1 kg of meat.

In short it seems that insects, that represented a cheap source of proteins, a healthy type of food, nutritionally complete and environmentally-friendly in our past, will become all this again in the near future, by turning into a trend and a food business, following the same business model that involved Sushi in the 90’s in the Western world.

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