Bugs: The New Food Craze?


Egor Kamelev

Egor Kamelev, Pexels

 Imagine walking into a fancy restaurant and seeing crickets on the menu. Insects and bugs are becoming more of a widespread snack throughout the world. Many restaurants have been hopping onto the trend. Some believe that insects may be the food of the future.  

Believe it or not, eating insects as a diet has a name. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, “Around two billion people worldwide eat insects as a part of a traditional diet- a practice known as entomophagy.” When one practices entomophagy, he/she trades eating meat for eating insects. Entomophagy is practiced around the world in places such as Africa, Asia, China, and South America. According to the FAO report done in mostly Western countries, “People view entomophagy with disgust and associate eating insects with primitive behavior.” However, people eat the insects because this is a part of their heritage or because insects are all people have to eat. 

The main reason people have started to eat insects is their nutritional value. Medical News Today’s (MNT) website (medicalnewstoday.com), reports, “Insects are considered highly nutritional; the majority of them are rich in proteins, healthy fats, iron, calcium, and carbohydrates. The authors of FAO also claim that insects are just as – if not more – nutritious than commonly consumed meats, such as beef.” There are even more benefits to eating insects; MNT also states, “The benefits of entomophagy do not stop at weight loss; the UN says eating insects could help combat malnutrition, which is widespread in developing countries.” There have been plenty of deaths in Asia and Africa due to malnutrition that could have been prevented if people would eat insects.  

It is not uncommon for people to try what they consider a brave food. Actress Angelina Jolie and her family have been seen snacking on fried ants and are reportedly big fans of smoked grasshoppers, sautéed crickets, and grilled cockroaches, according to TMZ. Actor Zac Efron went on the George Lopez Show and ended up trying scorpion on toast and a Taiwanese cricket. Efron said, “The cricket was the best one!” Some students who take Honors Biology recently had the opportunity to try crickets during the nutrition unit. “It tasted like chips if you don’t think about it too much because the flavoring was sour cream and onions. I guess I would eat it again if I didn’t have anything else,” said freshman Maya DeAlegre. Freshman Ben Svartz said, “It tasted like peanutsbut the idea of eating a cricket just grossed me out. If I had no other food or I lacked protein, I would eat it again.” Freshman Sofia Yaker said, “It tasted bland and crunchy and kind of a weird texture; I probably wouldn’t eat [a cricket] again.” 

More and more people have been trying this trend and even high-end restaurants are beginning to offer insects on their menus. The Black Ant is a Mexican restaurant based in New York City, it is notorious for its Black Ant guacamole, which uses ants as salt. Wayback Burgers in New York City is another restaurant known for serving insects with its Oreo Mud Pie Milkshake. The milkshake is made with Peruvian chocolate cricket powder and topped with ninety-six crickets. All in all, insects are now being recognized by more people worldwide as a nutritious food and, therefore, being more commonly consumed.