Environmental problems, global warming, and the growth of the world’s population will lead to the fact that insects will become the main source of proteins for humans. Such scenarios are called by experts and representatives of food companies, writes the BBC.
It is expected that by 2050 the number of people on the planet will reach 9.8 billion people, an increase of two billion. With such a large amount of demand, it will be difficult for traditional agriculture to provide the necessary amount of products. Professor Robin May, the chief scientific adviser to the UK Food Standards Agency, notes that the cost of producing insect proteins is small, they are also easy to produce with low-fat content and less negative effect on the environment compared to traditional mammalian meat. “Sometimes they can even provide valuable recycling services by consuming waste as the main feed, so the potential benefits for society are significant,” says the professor.
Thus, the Israeli company Hargol FoodTech has launched the production of jelly sweets from locusts with the addition of flavorings. This marmalade contains a high concentration of protein, which is similar to an animal and is necessary for the human diet. The taste of locusts can resemble exotic pecans, mushrooms, coffee, and chocolate, said the company’s CEO Droid Tamir. At the same time, the marmalade itself can be with orange and strawberry flavors. According to the head of the Israeli enterprise, in comparison with the production of beef, the same locust reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 99 percent, reduces the use of water and the area of arable land.
In the EU, locusts and mealworms have already been recognized as suitable for human consumption. For example, the French company Insect produces a number of protein powders from mealworms, which are already contained in some brands of energy bars, pasta, and hamburgers.
However, the possible negative impact of insect products on humans is still poorly understood. Researchers have not yet established what allergic reactions can cause insect protein and how it affects the microorganisms inside the person himself. Bridget Benelam, public relations manager at the British Nutrition Foundation, is sure that more research is needed. She recalled that eating some types of insects can be dangerous because of the toxins and pesticides contained in them.
Artificial meat is also gaining popularity in the world. The largest producer of soy meat, Impossible Foods, has started selling nuggets in American restaurants for the first time, and the German company Formo has raised $50 million for the production of artificial cheeses.