As incomes rise in developing countries, so too does the demand for meat. But raising livestock uses a lot of resources. Eating insects—already common in many tropical countries—could be an alternative. Beetles and crickets, for example, are packed with nutrients and provide protein at a low environmental cost.
Palatability poses a problem. “People have an emotional response to bugs—it’s the yuck factor,” says Arnold van Huis of Wageningen University in the Netherlands. To disguise their form, insects can be processed into powders or pastes. What’s next? Protein-rich “bug-flours” that are part flour and part ground insect will likely be on the market soon. —Kelsey Nowakowski