Would you trade meat for insects?
House crickets and larvae may soon be arriving at your local supermarket.
In January the European Union approved the sale of these insects for human consumption in powdered and other dried forms.
That’s good news for the planet, as protein-rich insects require much less land and waterfall what meat to produce.
‘The consumption of insects… makes a positive contribution to the environment, health and livelihoods,’ reads a statement from the European Commission.
Here’s everything you need to know to get started cooking with creatures.
Does eating insects help the environment?
This may be new to many Europeans, but eating insects is actually very common: nearly 2 billion people consume insects on a regular basis.
Insect farming is a lower carbon alternative to meat production; cricket farming, for example, uses 75% less CO2 than chicken farms.
It will also help conserve resources. Research by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) shows that crickets require six times less feed than livestock to create the same amount of protein.
Will food containing insects be clearly labelled?
Despite the environmental benefits, not everyone is happy with the EU’s new approval of insects.
In France, the right-wing politician Laurent Duplomb he criticized the EU decision saying, “We can’t let the French eat bugs without their knowledge.”
This concern stems from the misconception that the EU will not require insects to be clearly labeled when mixed with other ingredients such as flour.
This is not the case. THE fine print requires cricket powder to be clearly labeled.
The packaging must also state that “the ingredient may cause allergic reactions in consumers with known allergies to shellfish, molluscs and house dust mites.”
This statement “should appear near the ingredients list” — so you’ll be able to tell if bug powder has been added to your favorite cookies or cereal.
A spokesperson for the European Commission confirmed this via email to RockedBuzz via Euronews, saying: “Mandatory food information must be available for both pre-packed and non-pre-packed foods. Allergen labeling is mandatory and must be provided to consumers where the foods are offered for sale pre-packaged or unpacked.”
The approval is not revolutionary – the EU already approved two more insects for human consumption a few years ago.
Which European countries are most willing to eat insects?
But the thought of eating creepy crawlies isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and many in Europe would need a lot of convincing to add them to their diet.
According to a 2020 report from the European Consumer Organizationonly 10% of Europeans are willing to trade meat for insects.
But in another poll conducted by YouGov in 2021, France appears to be the most receptive country to the idea.
25% of people surveyed said they were willing to eat food that contains insect dust.
Germany and Denmark also narrowly match, with 24 and 22 percent respectively.
Italy and Poland were the most against the idea, with just 17 and 18 percent of respondents saying they would be willing to try eating insects on a regular basis.
But with our planet’s growing population and pollution from the meat and dairy industries, more and more scientists believe that insects could hold the key to curbing climate change.
Second the UNthe meat and dairy industry accounts for 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Eight other applications for other edible insects are still awaiting approval from the European Commission.