How To Get People To Eat Insects  

There is growing interest in harvesting insects as a food source. Though they are said to be a good source of protein and nutrients, most people refuse to bite. So how do we change people’s minds and help develop a taste for creepy crawlies?
Here are some ways we can change our mindset about insects as a sustainable food source.

Did you know lobsters were once referred to as the “cockroach of the sea” and fed only to prisoners and servants? Things changed when the railway was introduced in the US, according to the NPR. Unsuspecting passengers started being served lobster without knowing the crustaceans were actually considered “trash food”. As luck would have it, they grew to like the taste of lobsters, and the rest, as they say, is history.

We are at another such moment in human history – this time with insects. Interest is growing for consuming insects in place of traditional meat products, given the latter’s strain on resources and land. But for most people, the thought of eating a creepy-crawly is enough to make the stomach churn. And talk of saving the environment does not always help. So how do we change perceptions?

A Tasty Experience

A 2018 study showed that focusing on the taste and experience of eating insects would get people to bite. Marketing them as delicious, exotic delicacies is one way to go – such as highlighting how dragonflies taste like soft-shelled crabs.

Status Appeal

As with every other fad, celebrity endorsement can make a difference. In 2019, for example, actress Nicole Kidman revealed how she had enjoyed a four-course insect meal complete with a dessert made from grasshoppers.

Experts believe a focus on favourable bug-eating experiences, especially when it involves celebrities, could distract people long enough to try them for themselves.

What’s in a Name?

Others point to the belief that the more removed the food is from its origin, the easier it would be to swallow. Meat, for example, is sold as a tasty product without pictures of the animal it comes from on the packaging.

Another option is to change the names of the product. We consume beef and pork, not cows and pigs. In Mexico for example, ant larvae are served as escamoles. Not sure what Shakespeare would have made of this. But if it does the trick, why not?

Try it: Insect grub is not widespread yet in Singapore, but you could try cricket protein powder available online from Asia Insect Farm Solutions. Otherwise, if you don’t mind getting some ants stuck in your teeth while having a drink, make a beeline for Native cocktail bar.

  • POSTED ON
    Apr 6, 2021
  • TEXT BY
    Keval Singh
  • ILLUSTRATION BY
    mushroomhead
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