The world largest population, China, are facing a crisis of food. According to statistics data, in 2003, Chinese food production reached six hundred million tones with seventy hundred million import. On the one hand, the government needs to purchase food or rent land aboard to feed this. One the other hand, restaurants and families waste more than 10 billion food per year. Nowadays they have started changing eating style as well as using genetic transformation technology to increase land productivity.
Not only China, whole world are suffering from lack of food. On the way to solve this problem, people focus on insects. American research showed that insects will become the third source of protein which means that our society gradually accepts insect food as a replacement of regular crops or meat.
According to former research, edible insect can be divided into three parts: Eating, Pharmacy and feeding. Eating means we eat or cook bugs directly and eat it which is convenient. Some parts of insect hold medical function and have reaction when mixed with other materials. Feeding actually is a tricky one. We breed them in order to feed other livestock.
By searching online we could find researches on insect food has become a hotspot. Reasons why it is so welcome are summarized as follow:
1.A huge number of insects
In recent decade years, scientists including the US, Germany, France and China listed more than 400 various kinds of insects which could be served as our food from 200 thousands in total. Insects are the largest species in the animal kingdom which will be an internal basis. Totally, there are more than 3650 kinds of insects could provide nutrition to human.
2.A rapid reproductive capacity of insects
Insects could produce several generations in one year without a very high requirement of resources. Scientists cultivated flies to test its fertility. Spuriously, it reached more than one thousand billions individuals during a half year. Compared with pork or beef, inserts will give more portion with limited space and resources which could also reduce cost of farmers.
3.A variety of ways eating insects
Traditional Chinese cooking style is frying and roasting insects. Actually it is popular around south of China for example fried locusts, silkworm pupa, ants. Apart from direct eating, some bugs could be mixed with traditional Chinese medicinal materials that bring positive impact to our body. Honey are everywhere for sweet flavor and different function. Meanwhile, other countries keep their own habit of insect food. As the largest part of consumption of insect in the world, Mexico people invent a new caviar by using fruit flies as main ingredient. As we all know snail dish has become a classic French course. In Paris an insect restaurant offer about 100 different insect dishes including soup, pancake.
(Source: http://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/food-and-drink/the-future-of-food-from-insect-burgers-to-smart-fridges-1.2010323;https://www.pinterest.com/pin/310607705532124812/; http://alchetron.com/Chiapas-5091-W; https://www.thailandunique.com/insect-bug-flour-powder)
We can see advantages of insect. So does it truly fit human nutrition and demand? Nutritionists did experiments to give answers.
Different states of insects save different percentage of protein and normally about 20%-70% of dry weight. Some special product like honey reaches 81%. Besides, amino acids which combine protein are 30%-60% made up by 10%-30% necessary amino acids. This perfect proportion make protein is easily absorbed.
Fat content between 10%-40% changing with different states in dry weight. Larva of some species keep high quality of unsaturated fatty acid as well as peanut oil. For instant, unsaturated fatty acid of larva of housefly keeps 68.2%, followed by necessary fatty acid 36%.
3.Carbohydrate, minerals and vitamin
As an Animalia food, insect have lower carbohydrate saving, only about 1%-10%. However, it produces different variety of sugar like glucose, fructose, and mycose. Most of insects are rich in minerals. Ant keeps Mn, Zn, Mg, Se etc. 28 kinds of the essential element of the human body epically Zn, which is twice than soybean. Except vitamin C, vitamin A, B1, B2, B6, D, E, K can be found in their body.
Until now, we have discovered abundant antimicrobial peptide which is equipped with ability to prevent bacteria and virus. Insect hormone is a specific component playing an important role when insect adjust intern metabolism. Fortunately, it could balance human body as well, even combating disease.
Chinese has involved to explore insect food for decades and produced multiple flavor of food. However these food is hardly transformed to our daily life.
The key issue is traditional culture view barrier. In south of China, eating insect is normal while northern families absolutely refuse it. This phenomenon directly affects production and publicity of bug food. When residents look at insect, they may wonder how disgust it is rather than how tasty it is.
Although we took a long time researching insect food, it is just a beginning of whole industry. We are lack of investment as well as high-tech equipment. It is not scientific that we divide insect food with nutrition standard which will ignore lots of elements which may be healthy to human. Moreover, terrible market management almost ruin insect food consumption. Because nobody is responsible for fake or low quality commodity, consumers are suffering from damages caused by inferior-quality products. At same time, high quality food could not attracts the public.
It will be a very long process to change eating habit especially insects. Unless the shortage of crops in worldwide could be solved, we have to try insect food one day. Government need to support this food industry as well as advisement. In my own, it tastes good but poor shape. And I could only accept cooked dishes. How about you？