The North American Coalition for Insect Agriculture (NACIA) responds to efforts by Senators Flake and Cortez Masto to prohibit USDA subsidies for Insect Agriculture
December 17, 2018:
Global interest in Insects as Food and Feed was sparked by the 2013 release of a report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN FAO): Edible Insects – Future Prospects for Food and Feed Security. Concerns about feeding a rapidly growing worldwide population (estimated to reach 9 billion or higher by 2050 from 7.5 billion today) led to problem-solving around increasing food production in an environment of ever-increasing scarcity.
After a failed attempt to add an amendment to the Farm Bill earlier this year that sought to ban research funding for insect agriculture and insect-based foods, Senator Flake (R-AZ) has now teamed up with Senator Cortez Masto (D-NV) in a renewed effort to frame ongoing research supporting insect farming as “wasteful.” Their proposed legislation (Removing Excessive Dollars to Uproot and Cut Expensive (REDUCE) Government Waste Act) is heavy on puns but light on facts concerning insects.
Many innovations are misunderstood in their infancy until the scales tip to wider acceptance. In many parts of the world, insects as food and feed are well established. Research shows that insects have been an important part of the human diet for millennia, and remain a protein-rich food staple for billions of people today.Nearby, in Mexico, there are more than 549 known species of insects which are eaten, and comida prehispanica is once again trending. One of the most well-known is the chapuline, a type of tasty grasshopper which holds deep cultural culinary importance.
Today, insects as a source of protein for food and feed is a growing industry with over 250 companies worldwide. The insects as feed industry alone was estimated to be worth $900 million in 2016 and is forecast to reach $1.5 billion by 2022 (Mordor Intelligence, 2017). The edible insects market is expected to reach nearly $1.2 billion by 2023, supported by a CAGR of 23.8% per a recent Research and Markets report. There is an explosion of growth in this industry globally and the U.S. lags behind.“The insect agriculture industry has grown tremendously in only a few short years – creating jobs, starting American businesses, and fueling economic growth. All signs point to that growth not only continuing, but accelerating. We would welcome the opportunity to show Senators Cortez Masto and Flake how this new agricultural sector could benefit not just the small business owners and farmers already active across 27 states, but their constituents in Nevada and Arizona as well,” said Robert Nathan Allen, NACIA President.
Getting more chefs involved will be critical to the public’s education around and acceptance of bugs as ingredients. With over 2000 edible insect flavors to explore, chefs have a relatively untouched treasure chest of ingredients to explore, each with unique, complex flavor profiles.
Chefs are the Gate Keepers of consumer preference and continue to expand our cuisines with innovative concepts and casual, eclectic menus. It’s not uncommon for one chef alone to drive a vibrant micro food culture in a city, thus expanding appreciation for new foods and dishes that impact customers’ attitudes nationwide.
According to Menus of Change, the past two years have been dominated by vegetable-focused menus, resulting in a “normalization” of vegetable dishes as fully belonging on acclaimed menus and as “vehicles for culinary creativity.” It is my goal to see a similar trend with bugs. It will be key for chefs to champion our efforts to gain consumer acceptance of bugs as ingredients.
For these reasons, I’m elated to announce words my mother never thought she would hear: I’ll be partnering with the International Culinary Center (ICC) for a class titled “How & Why We Eat Bugs.” The class will include a guided tasting and is open to the public on Monday, August 27, 2018, from 3:00 – 5:00 pm at the Campbell, CA campus.
Woo hoo – the edible insect world just took a major step forward today!
Check out Seek Food’s new Kickstarter campaign. They are working with an insanely talented team of award-winning chefs to launch a line of baking flours targeted to specific dietary needs and an accompanying world-class cookbook. Over the past year, they’ve learned a ton about how chefs, bakers, and customers everywhere incorporate bugs into their diets. Now they’re putting that research to use:
Long story short, I chose really bad avocados. My roommate Blake suggested that I learn the basics of when fruits and vegetables are in season and how to pick the best ones once in the grocery store. This got me thinking—are bugs seasonal? When is the best time to buy?
We’ll start with the fruits and veggies, but if you’re interested in the bugs skip past the lovely infographics provided by this blog and head to the last section of this post for the deets on when and how to select the “freshest” insects.
All natural, organic, dairy free and complete protein products made with cricket powder. This is the promise made by Byron Bay (Austrailia) based company Grilo. Grilo means “cricket” in Portuguese.
On their site, they write, “According to the dictionary, a cricket is a brown or black insect that makes short, loud noises by rubbing its wings together. For us it means much more than that.” I love it.
There’s nothing like a deliciously cooked taco. The warm tortillas, the crisp lettuce, the perfectly-melted cheese, and the main ingredient: crickets. Today I want to share with you one of my favorite spins on a classic taco – the cricket taco. Not only is it healthier (crickets are a more sustainable and more nutritious protein addition than beef) but it also tastes ahhhh-mazing! It can be intimidating for newbies to cook with insects, but once you learn to treat them like any other ingredient, you’re golden!