Edible insect products flying off shelves

Posted at 7:02 AM, Aug 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-03 07:02:44-04

While Americans aren't exactly lining up to scarf down a bowl of crickets, consuming insects as part of a balanced diet is a critical part of the culture in many other countries around the world.

The trend could be taking off to a greater extent here in the U.S., however, as biologists say edible insects can provide solutions to hunger and climate change.

"They're low in fat, they're high in nutrients, minerals, and calcium," says Irina Andrianavalona, processing manager at Madagascar-based Valala Farms.

Unlike traditional forms of protein, such as beef, environmentalists say creepy-crawlies like crickets, mealworms, waxworms, and more require less water, food, and space to grow.

This creates opportunities to reduce deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, and resource consumption.

According to the Worldwide Fund for Nature, "25% of global land use, land-use change, and forestry emissions are driven by beef production" as more of the world's remaining forests are converted into farmland for cattle and crops.

But in countries like Madagascar, researchers say making room for more cows isn't sustainable. Instead, the production of edible insects is increasing.

"This will be our contribution to our fight against malnutrition in Madagascar," said Irina Andrianavalona.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization says farmers around the world need to increase the size of their harvest by nearly 70% by 2050.

While insects can fill our stomachs, the UN says their waste can also be converted into low-cost fertilizer for growing crops.

Estimates from Barclays Bank show the value of the insect protein market is expected to go from less than $1 billion to more than $8 billion by 2030.

Marianne Rafferty of Fox News contributed this report.