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367. Edible Insects: a New Eating Plan

Kim, Ah-young 기자2017.09.12 14:21:02

 

In Korea before the 1970s, chrysalises were popular snacks, and people used to share fried grasshoppers with their neighbors. However, the practice faded with time. However, the world’s population will soon reach 9,600,000,000 and food production will have to double. Edible insects may not be the only solution to this issue, but they can be quite beneficial in the future. Insects used to function as a snack, but they could become a major source for food in the future.



Insects have great advantages as a food source, for four major reasons.  The first of these is that they have a very high reproduction rate, and they can be bred at any time of the year in an interior hygienic breeding farm. Second, they do not need a lot of energy to maintain their body temperature since they are cold-blooded. Therefore, compared with other animals, their feed efficiency is very high. Feed efficiency means the conversion of food to protein.  Third, they require a smaller amount of water as well as food. The last reason is that insectariums damage the environment less than the livestock industry.


There has been a change in the amount of edible insects in the world markets. In Korea, mealworms were authorized as a food ingredient for the first time, in 2014. Since then, grasshoppers, crickets, white spider mite larvae, silkworm pupas, white mackerels, and beetle larvae have all been authorized. The number of authorized insects is also expected to increase to more than ten species. This tendency has also appeared in various forms in other countries. Japan held the 7th insect eating festival, called the Tokyo Mushikui Festival, on the 22th of April 2017,. Japan has also successfully commercialized a soy sauce made from insect-extracted protein. In addition to Korea and Japan, China, America and several European countries now produce and sell a wide range of products containing insects, such as protein bars, cookies, bread, chocolate, enzyme preparations, and pills, etc.




One of the major obstacles for edible insect commercialization is the public perception and loathing of insects. In Korea, an entomophagous culture has existed in different forms, for a long time. However, when the world went through the Industrial Revolution, the perception of insects changed. People perceived insects as harmful to crops and attracted to dirty places. Because of this disgust concerning insects, the entomophagous culture gradually disappeared. The important fact is that if edible insects are bred in technical farms, they use 12 to 13 times less water and food, than beef production. . This is much more economical and friendly towards the environment. If the public is exposed to the benefits of insects as a food source, through education or demonstrations, interest and familiarity with edible insects will also increase.



           The lobster is one of the most exclusive food ingredients at this time. . However, it was a food for the poor about 200 years ago in America. It became a luxury dish when French gourmet chefs distributed their recipes around the world after the French Revolution. There are many similar cases in which where the perception of a specific food changed drastically over time and in different situations. It is clear that edible insects are a huge gift to humans, which can help solve future problems such as lack of food and environmental pollution. In order for this to succeed public prejudice against insects must be removed and we should be able to buy foods made of insects more easily. This will make the edible insects a popular food source.


 


 

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