Insect-Based Foods: Fad, Conspiracy Or The Future?
When restaurant staff put on server aprons at the start of a shift, they know they will be taking all manner of dishes to diners. Many of these will be very familiar, but could a change literally be creeping up?
While some have advocated switching away from meat to a plant-based diet, others have suggested that westerners should start eating more insects. This is not just talk; British supermarket chain Sainsbury’s has experimented at some of its stores with selling packs of fried crickets, from the Eat Grub chain.
Insects are commonly eaten in certain parts of the world, especially Asia, so they are a tried and tested food source. Whether westerners can be persuaded is another thing, even if most of us have eaten and drunk products with red colouring from cochineal beetles.
Advocates argue they are a great source of protein that uses up far fewer resources to farm than most of the meat sources we are used to. However, opposition has gone beyond just some people’s taste or even the idea that putting bugs on the menu is a fad. The conspiracy theorists have now got in on the act.
As KBIA reported, these range from conservative commentator Michael Knowles in the US to far-right Dutch MP Thierry Baudet. The former held up a Bloomberg article in a YouTube video titled "Why Bugs Must Be a Bigger Part of the Human Food Chain” as a sign that the “ruling class” wanted everyone to eat insects. The latter tweeted: “WE WILL NOT EAT THE BUGS".
This idea that eating insects is some dastardly plot might be confined mainly to the world of fake Moon landings and microchips in vaccines, but cultural issues may remain a problem.
Just as Britons regarded revelations that they were eating horse meat in what they thought were beef or lamb products a decade ago with horror while the French do so habitually, so many will turn their noses up at what is normal in the Far East. The question is whether they can be persuaded to change over time in the manner of vegetarianism becoming more mainstream.