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Eating insects can be good for the planet – Europeans should eat more of them

Eating insects can be good for the planet – Europeans should eat more of them

As the world population continues to grow, the demand for food will only increase. While there are many ways to increase food production, one that is often overlooked is eating insects. Insects are a sustainable and nutritious food source that can help reduce pressure on the planet’s resources.

Insects are a rich source of protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals. They are also more efficient to produce than other animal sources of protein, requiring less land, water, and feed. Insect farming is also less damaging to the environment than livestock farming, as it emits less greenhouse gases and produces less waste.

Eating insects is not a new concept – it is estimated that over two billion people worldwide regularly consume insects. In Europe, however, insects are not commonly consumed, due to cultural and historical reasons.

There are many reasons why Europeans should start eating more insects. It would be good for the environment, as it would reduce pressure on the planet’s resources. Insects are also a nutritious food source, and as such, could help to improve the diets of many people.

If you are not yet convinced, why not try some insect-based recipes and see for yourself how delicious they can be?

Edible insects are nutritious, low in greenhouse gas emissions and require less land and water than conventional livestock – so why aren’t Europeans eating more of them?

This was the question posed by a recent report from the European Parliament, which called on the bloc to do more to promote the consumption of insects as a sustainable and environmentally friendly source of protein.

Despite the fact that bugs have been eaten by humans for centuries – particularly in Asia and Africa – the idea of deliberately tucking into a plate of them is still something of a taboo in the West.

But the report’s authors say that with the world’s population set to increase to 9.7 billion by 2050, and demand for meat expected to double, it is “vital” that Europeans overcome their “squeamishness” and start consuming more insects.

There are around 2,000 species of edible insects, but the most commonly consumed are beetles, caterpillars, bees, wasps, ants, grasshoppers, locusts and crickets.

They are high in protein, vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc and calcium, and are a good source of essential fatty acids and dietary fibre. What’s more, they have a relatively small carbon footprint and can be farmed using organic methods.

The report estimates that if insects were to replace just a quarter of the meat consumed by Europeans each year, it would free up enough land to grow an additional 5 million tonnes of cereals – enough to feed an extra 100 million people.

So why aren’t we seeing more insects on our plates?

Part of the problem is that there is currently no EU-wide legislation on the farming, processing and marketing of edible insects, meaning there is no guarantee of quality or safety.

There is also a lack of public awareness of the benefits of eating bugs, and a general perception that they are dirty and unappetising.

But the report’s authors say these obstacles can be overcome, and point to the example of the Belgian company In-secte, which has developed a range of insect-based products, including burgers, balls, mince and nuggets, that are now available in 200 supermarkets across the country.

They also highlight the work of the French start-up Ynsect, which is using insects to produce a sustainable alternative to fishmeal for use in aquaculture.

If Europeans can overcome their “reluctance to eat insects”, the report concludes, it could have a “significant impact” on the bloc’s ability to meet its targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and ensuring a sustainable food supply.

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