The way we produce protein today is not sustainable and unethical. A change is inevitable. The question is, which protein source is going to become the new norm? Let’s look at meat and plant protein and compare them to insect protein in terms of sustainability, morality, and quality.
The most popular protein source in the western world is probably meat. In terms of protein quality it’s great, it can be called a complete protein – easily digestible with an ideal amino acid ratio. The problem is that factory farming of big animals like cattle or poultry is unethical and bad for the environment.
Farming plants for protein doesn’t harm animals, but it does cause animals to die because of loss of natural habitat, chemical fertilizers, and heavy machinery. It is good for the environment because plants require substantially less resources than big animals and produce near zero greenhouse gasses, even though it creates a lot of waste – parts of plants we can’t digest. Nutritional protein quality is where plants lag behind meat, they are harder to digest and have a sub-optimal amino acid ratio, they carry incomplete proteins.
Insects provide us with complete protein that’s similar quality to meat. They are also environmentally friendly, they require less resources than plants and they are even able to convert organic food waste into protein. We also consider their farming to be ethical because top scientists studying insects say insects do not feel pain and aren’t capable of experiencing suffering. Plus farmers use precautions to avoid even the theoretical harm.
If we consider all three main aspects: nutritional quality, sustainability, and ethics it’s clear that insects are our best option so far. The only thing we need to do is give them a try and see that they can be a tasty part of our diet too!