Minerals are more available for absorption from eating insects like grasshoppers, mealworms and crickets than eating beef, according to a study done by a researcher at King’s College, London that was reported in Food Ingredients First.
“The study suggests that commonly consumed insect species could be an excellent source of bioavailable iron and could provide for an alternative strategy for increased mineral intake in the diets of humans,” researcher Yemisi Latunde-Dada told Food Ingredients First.
Researchers said now they want to look at which insects could help make a well-rounded meal, especially to ensure adequate iron consumption.
While the idea of eating insects bugs a lot of people, tiny critters are a dietary mainstay for nearly three of every ten people on earth. There’s a reason for that: For an assortment of reasons, many parts of the world simply can’t support, in terms of land, water or food sources, the large-scale raising of cattle, hogs, other on-the-hoof creatures, or poultry for food.
The U.S.’s abundance of land, cheap water and its ability to grow corn — 36% of the total corn crop comprises 95% of what’s fed to cattle, hogs and chickens — in ever-increasing quantities enables America’s ‘big ag’ industry to produce, quantity-wise, a volume of edible animal end products unmatched by much of the rest of the world combined. However, as consumers are looking to other sources of protein and nutrition, it remains to be seen if the increases in meat consumption will keep pace.
After appropriate research has been done, if the results prove to justify developing mass production of insects for human consumption, considerable work still will need to be done to get the attention, and the appetites, of a meat-loving public. The insects-as-food market is growing, but most products feature bugs as snacks, candy, or an ingredient.
In late 2015, Bugsolutely introduced a cricket-rich pasta product. Other meal-based products may join it soon.