Farming Insects for Food in China: New Strategy to Address Global Food Shortages
Li Jinsui… invested 250,000 euros of his own money in [his] insect factory… [in] the capital of the southwestern province of Yunnan.
With seven patents, production officially kicked off in 2009. Since then, no visitor comes by without being offered a plate of bamboo worms, one of the dishes in his catalogue.
Yunnan Insect Biotechnologies also offers dried larvae, protein powder from insect exoskeletons and actual insects for human and animal consumption.
…Experts from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) are increasingly looking to entomophagy as a substitute for meat and fish but also as a cheaper alternative to animal feed, especially in fish farms.
The nutritional qualities of insects (protein, minerals…) are quite high. They also have a much better yield than cattle and need much less water. Currently, 70% of farmland around the world and 9% of freshwater are used for animal farming, which emits 18% of greenhouse gases…
“The market is ready,” says the 45-year-old. “We have a protein shortage in this country. We have to import fish from Chile or Peru. As humans, we don’t have enough information yet on the potential of insects as a source of nutrition.” After some research, he focused on one species: the housefly. Flies are everywhere; they don’t harm the environment, are edible and can even be used in the pharmaceutical industry. Chitin, the main component of the exoskeletons of arthropods such as crustaceans and insects, can help build up the immune system.
Eating insects is common in many traditional cultures. In the market in Oaxaca, Mexico, they sell grasshoppers in three sizes, with and without chile. (The ones with chile are eaten as a snack, the plain ones are used in recipes.) I remember the grasshopper taquitos were not unpleasant to eat.
I imagine the developed world would only eat insects if they were highly processed, and if the product were branded to associate itself with conventional foods and distance itself from its origin, like Quorn, Tofurkey or Fake-on.
(via China’s Maggot Factories Hoping To Feed The World - Worldcrunch - All News is Global ht Pass Me That Bowl of Maggots, Will You? | IdeaFeed | Big Think)