10 Sep 2016

Eating insects

From This Way Up, 12:06 pm on 10 September 2016

Like it or not, we each eat – on average – about half a kilo of insects every year. That's because many bugs like aphids, thrips, fruit flies and their larvae find their way into our food.

Now Christchurch pair Bex de Prospo and Peter Randrup are trying to get more of us eating even more of these crunchy critters. They have started a business called Anteater supplying insects to New Zealand restaurants.

In the US, food laws allow up to 60 insect fragments in every 100 grams of chocolate, up to 5 fruit flies (or their eggs) in a 250ml glass of orange juice, and up to 925 insect fragments in every 10 grams of ground thyme!

Meanwhile, with the world's population tipped to reach almost 10 billion by 2050, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization is hoping we'll put insects on the menu as the main course, rather than as an unwanted ingredient. It is championing the benefits of eating insects – or entomophagy – as a low-cost, environmentally sound, protein-rich food to feed all of these extra people.

It's not exactly a new idea, either. We humans have been eating bugs for thousands of years and there are nearly 2,000 species of insects eaten around the world today, both cooked and raw.