CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Skewers, soups, and pastas packed with insects could be coming soon to a menu near you.
According to a United Nations, global food production will need to double to keep up with the population growth. A biologist at Oregon State University speculates that increasing food supplies by that much could be nearly impossible, so we might need to turn to alternative sources for protein.
The UN said the global population will reach 9 billion people by 2050. To keep everyone fed, OSU professor and entomologist Sujaya Rao said humans will need to incorporate insects into their diets.
Professor Rao said that there are so many different species that live in just about every environment, making them an accessible source of food anywhere in the world. Even though bugs are sustainable, many people consider them inedible.
“Who can say for sure that as a child they did not try to eat a bug or two,” Rao said. “It's just that we've been socialized into thinking that bugs are yucky, bugs are dirty… that's where they have that taboo."
Rao's bug buddy, Lynn Royce, said the western taboo originated in Europe from certain bugs that carried diseases.
Royce said eating bugs is far more healthy than eating a greasy hamburger.
“Insects are high in protein, vitamins, and minerals. They are actually better in many cases at converting their food source to protein,” Royce said.
Professor Rao said the key is to start slow and to incorporate them in foods you already love - like cookies.