For some, eating insects may seem unappetizing and unappealing, but it is estimated that 2.5 billion people worldwide eat insects on a regular basis. Students from McGill University in Montreal, Canada believe they have come up with a solution to cut down on global poverty and hunger. It involves distributing cricket-producing kits to impoverished populations around the world that will give these people a source of protein and potentially a source of income as well. Simply, families could eat what they want and then sell the rest.
Crickets that are sold could then be processed into flour and other raw ingredients used to make food products. In fact, families that sell the crickets could use the money they receive to buy food products made with the cricket flour. This proposed system would in essence give impoverished people two different sources of nutrition: the crickets and the local products made from cricket flour. The team at McGill University claims that each kit could produce 11 pounds of crickets every two months. Divided among several people, the crickets wouldn’t necessarily sustain a family for two months, but would provide a much needed source of protein and other nutrients such as iron and omega-3.
Ironically, vegetarians are another possible market for goods created with the cricket flour. Many vegetarians are such because of ecological reasons, but are not opposed to eating insects. As in the case for undernourished people, vegetarians would have access to a solid protein source that is more difficult to find in the vegetarian food category.
The students still have a lot of work to do in finalizing the cricket kit prototype and coming up with recipes for the cricket flour, but I believe they are on the right track. Their cricket kit idea has the potential to solve a worldwide problem and put an end to hunger and suffering for many people. For the student’s sake and most importantly for the undernourished people around the world, I hope their vision is realized.