Food of the Future: Edible Insects
BY Israel Initiative, 14.02.2019
Advanced research at Tel-Hai College in cooperation with the MIGAL Research Institute is examining the nutritional benefits of grasshoppers and bees. Today, approximately 15% of the world’s population suffers from protein and micronutrient deficits. This problem is expected to worsen in the near future as a result of the growing global population, which is expected to reach approximately 9 billion by 2050. Demand for protein from animal sources is predicted to increase by 76%, mainly in developing countries .Expanding the livestock sector to satisfy this demand may result in overuse of land and water resources, in particular for crop cultivation to feed them, while releasing high quantities of greenhouse gas emissions which could have a severe impact on global warming.
Insects have been suggested as a possible solution for future direct human food supply, and as a novel source of proteins and other nutrients to feed livestock. More than 1,900 species are known to be edible. They are rich in nutritional value, with particularly high levels of proteins and essential amino acids such as tryptophan, lysine and threonine. Protein contents of 40–75% on a dry matter basis have been reported in different insect types. They also contain high concentrations of polyunsaturated fatty acids in their fat composition, including healthy Omega 3. Insects’ fatty acid composition resembles that of fish and poultry in its degree of unsaturation. Insects are also rich in micronutrients, such as zinc and iron. Some insects contain high levels of antioxidative compounds.