Pressures on the world’s meat production system is mounting. Issues such as chemical additives, threats to human health, poor food safety and handling, the stress production causes on the environment, the prevalence of ‘factory made meats’ and inhumane treatment of animals as well as a disregard for animal health are all hot topics of today’s world.

Livestock production despite being a major source of livelihood for millions of small farmers has a poor view in the eyes of the world’s watchdogs simply due to the irresponsible action of a few thousand large scale producers. As a result an alternative is now coming to life: Bug meat!

grasshopper

Entomophagy

What! Eating insects? Yes this is a thing or rather a re-surging way to be fed. Entomophagy is the practice of eating insects  – including arachnids (tarantulas) and myriapods (centipedes). This is an age old human practice from civilizations of the past.

In the last 2 – 3 years however it has been viewed as a meat alternative, as gourmet food and as a regular part of daily meals. You’re probably wondering whether or not it taste like chicken. You’ll have to try some to find out!

A fried snack, a sweet treat or a full meal

Firstly we should examine the types of ‘insect meat’ out there. The Entomophagy community has come up with some fantastic outlets. Many simply  fry a variety of insects using powdered seasonings, the most basic form of the practice today. Conversely restaurants, hoteliers and other food business are testing out recipes and creating their own specialty dishes.

Other innovators and entrepreneurs are creating novelty products with insects as its base ingredient. As such ‘bug meat’ is now an acceptable but still growing meat alternative that is at the core of viable business enterprises. Tech4agri had the pleasure of meeting C-fu, a finalist team at the Thought for Food Summit.

Featured on the Mirror news website “this team of university students has developed a tofu-like meat substitute made out of insects. Just like tofu, C-fu is extremely versatile and can be used to make bug burgers, pâté and other protein-based meals or used to make cream cheese – and even ice cream”

C-fu meat
C-fu in the ‘flesh’ at a taste testing during the Thought for Food Summit, courtesy the business’s FB page

But why is this new alternative so popular? It has all the makings of a great food product: cheap, new, alternative, tasty, easy to produce,  and readily available given that insects out number humans in the billions.

Another example lies with young innovators Gabi Lewis and Greg Sewitz who sought to “change the way people eat.” Their idea: Exo, a cricket-based protein bar, targeting the health conscious and fitness community. This represents yet another niche facilitated by the bug meat alternative.

A fast growing industry

Overall the entomophagy community is growing and quite interactive. Fellow entrepreneurs are in full support of each other’s endeavors as  just the surface has been touched in terms of the applicability and dynamic nature of bug meat itself.

Experiments and testing are in full swing for many while some, as aforementioned have already created amazing products.

The benefits of this new alternative are almost too many too mention but there are still so many who are unaware and of those who are, a notable number are against it outright.

Tech4agri will certainly revisit this topic in the future with an interview from a member of the aforementioned community. While this more in depth discussion is in the works, check out A Stunning Alternative Part 2!

There are other meat alternatives out there that are new and gaining stream. In fact the next two featured alternatives have gathered powerful sustained backing.

 

A Stunning Alternative!

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