It’s hairy and it’s got six legs, what is it? An insect that deserves to be trampled? Wrong! Maybe part of your menu soon. It’s possible that soon we’ll have no other option but go for crickets and worms.
In 2050, there will be 9 billion people living on the planet Earth. People tend to eat a lot. It would require that today’s food production grow by 70%. Either we design a miraculous solution, or we have to start eating something else. But what? We’ve overfished the oceans, cows, chickens and so on cause more problems than anything (cattle now takes up 45% of dry land). Have you got another idea?
The only thing there is enough of in the world to the point of being annoying is insects. Crickets, locusts, worms, flies. Western gastronomy turns up its nose, but in many countries it has been on the menu for a long time – Mexican cuisine uses ants. Why not turn “entomophagy” into a mainstream thing? If insects are dried and ground to flour they lose a lot of the “yuck” factor. If you’ve ever tasted some – for example at Food Film Fest in 2016 – you can confirm that roasted and spiced worms are really delicious.
The Gateway Bug documentary follows start-ups producing insect foods; from Big Cricket Farms, who try to produce crickets on a large scale for food industry, to Slightly Nutty, who keep them as alternative fish food, to various producers of insect protein bars. The topic is not just “insect philosophy” – it is a great documentary of the difficulties every new business in a developing segment of the market faces.
How does the film end? Mostly not very well: cricket keepers are on the verge of bankruptcy and no significant boom has materialised. If you balk at the thought of crickets on your plate and this piece of news makes you happy, you won’t rejoice for long. It shows that soldier flies are much easier to keep… And as the current agricultural model is not sustainable, you might find yourself happily chewing on flesh flies one day.