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Global population is estimated to reach 10 billion by 2050. Being able to feed everyone will require a 70% increase in food production. This raises serious questions about the sustainability of our food production system, meat and dairy in particular: in 2019, a study by the European Commission found that the main driver of negative environmental impacts generated by households was food production, ahead of housing (heating especially) and mobility (notably the use of private car).
Reducing our meat and dairy consumption, be it by adopting a flexitarian, vegetarian or vegan diet, should be our first port of call. But what about exploring protein alternatives? Vegan burgers like Impossible and Beyond Meat have enjoyed planetary success. We will also soon be eating lab-grown meats.
So what about insects? They have the potential to be used for both animal feed and food for human consumption. They’re a natural fit: wild salmon and free-range chickens eat plenty of insects; and 2 billion people on the planet already eat insects regularly.
Could we scale this up? Should we? Why are people in “the west” so disguted by insects? What do they taste like? Will single cell protein make insects obsolete? There are some really difficult questions to tackle, but plenty of mind-blowing stuff too: did you know that there are around 2,000 species of edible insects? That the black soldier fly grows 1,000-fold in just two weeks? Or that by the mid-2020s, the European insect sector will have invested €2.5 billion (yes, billions) to build large-scale production facilities?
Every two weeks, you’ll find a topic to (ahem) chew on, an interview with someone doing cool insect things, and one home-tested insect recipe or product.
So subscribe to Buzzing for plenty of food for thought 😊.
About Emilie Filou
I am a freelance journalist based in the UK. I write about business and sustainability issues and I’ve had a lifelong interest in Africa. I’ve written for publications you know (The Economist, the BBC, the Guardian) and some you don’t (I’m the Africa editor of Global Water Intelligence, a trade publication specialising in the water sector). I’ve also written plenty of guidebooks for Lonely Planet. Find me on Twitter at @EmilieFilou.
The beautiful cricket in Buzzing’s avatar was designed by the talented Sheila Lukeni. Find her on instagram at @shecandrawit.