There are over 1,900 edible insect species on Earth, many of which are already part of the diet in many countries. Source: CNBC

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

Scientists around the world are looking to bugs such as crickets and maggots as a sustainable protein replacement for meats like pork and beef.

A viral TikTok video brought to light that a number of tiny insects that often live in packaged strawberries. While many were disgusted with the idea, experts say that there are most likely bugs in most of our fruits and that they are harmless.

While many have yet to warm up to the idea of eating bugs, some startups are racing to find sustainable solutions for protein production involving insects. Currently, the edible insect market is projected to reach $850 million worldwide by the year 2027. Many companies are also developing ways to generate feed for farm animals using processed larvae. Current EU legislation prevents farmers from using bugs as feed for animals other than fish, but Brussels is expected to expand the use of this type of feed to chickens as well.

Food industry innovators are also finding ways for humans to make use of bug protein. Japanese company Muji has just released its limited edition cricket crackers, which pack a lot of protein, similar to the U.S. brand Chirps that also makes cricket-based foods and protein powder.

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

Can Maggots Fuel Sports Drinks? South African Startup Thinks So – Bloomberg – 5/22/20 The powder “doesn’t really have a taste or smell to it, it could be used in savory or sweet” food such as chocolate, she said. The protein is high quality and a one-hectare (2.47 acre) insect farm can produce 7,500 times more than a soy farm of the same size, according to Pieterse.

Insect-growing startup Beta Hatch raises $3M to further innovate and build giant new facility – GeekWire – 5/21/20 Beta Hatch develops insect-rearing technology that converts organic waste directly into high-value proteins, oils and nutrients for poultry and aquaculture, enabling insects to cost-effectively meet the global scale of demand for plant and animal nutrients.

TikTok Ruined Strawberries By Showing Us The Bugs That Live Inside Them – Refinery 29 – 5/21/20 Strawberries are cancelled. That’s what I’ve determined after watching a viral TikTok trend where users are showing how to remove literal bugs from the fruit. […] Perhaps the TikTok generation has more time for science now that we’re all living in a state of perpetual pandemic lockdown, but the findings here are absolutely horrifying.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

Vusi Thembekwayo on Twitter, 5/22/20: In the words of Simba, “slimy yet satisfying” A sports drink made from maggots In South Africa.

Francis on Twitter, 5/22/20: imagine being a 17th century french serf peasant, crossing the Atlantic to colonize New France, you almost certainly die cold and hungry within 15 years and endure the worst weather conditions imaginable just so that your descendants can eat maggots

Denise Landis on Twitter, 5/22/20: It’s a product that includes cricket powder. When you see a cow in a field you might not think “yum!” But if you eat meat, a burger might look very tasty. The cricket flour has no flavor that we notice, but is high in protein & iron. Crickets are sustainable agriculture too!

Ari Schulman on Twitter, 5/22/20: This account is pro-mask, but this is big “you’ll eat bug protein and you’ll like it” energy h/t @bitteranagram

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